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#10- Various studies have concluded that song overlapping,

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kliu49
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Hello,

I'd like to confirm that this is a question whose stimulus has a terrible argument? And that's why the correct answer is e) the conclusion is unconvincing?

Thank you!
Kat
Dave Killoran
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kliu49 wrote:Hello,

I'd like to confirm that this is a question whose stimulus has a terrible argument? And that's why the correct answer is e) the conclusion is unconvincing?

Thank you!
Kat


Hey Kat,

Thanks for the question! I wouldn't say this argument is terrible and that's why it's (E), so let's take a closer look.

It's a convoluted piece of language here, which makes the argument feel terrible, but in simpler terms, this is all that happened:


    Overlapping is a signal of aggression.

    The studies saying that are based on examining how the first bird that was singing responded.

    But responses of any sort can be interpreted as a reaction to aggression.

    So, _________.

That argument by itself has multiple viewpoints being presented on a scientific topic using unfamiliar terminology, hence it's easy to feel like it's a bad argument. But nothing improper has been done inside the argument and so answer choice (E) isn't saying the argument is bad.

Instead, what (E) is trying to answer is "what conclusion can we draw here?" Or, what is the author driving at? In this case, we can look at the argument above as follows:


    The conclusion that overlapping singing is aggressive is based on response tests, but the author states that any response (or no response) can always be interpreted as aggressive, so do we really know if overlapping singing is aggressive? It doesn't look like it. Thus, our conclusion here is that we can't be sure whether these studies making the aggression claim are correct.

The key to this problem is that last sentence before the fill-in-the-blank portion: "However, any response—even no response—can be interpreted as a reaction to perceived aggression." That sentence means that any type of response can be said to have been made in response to aggression. So, for example if someone makes a joke and you don't laugh, that response could be interpreted as saying the joke was aggressive. Or, if you laugh really loudly, that could be interpreted as saying the joke was aggressive. If that is true, then looking at how a bird responded to the overlapping wouldn't tell us anything because you could say any response (or none, as they take pains to point out) is to aggression, making the test rather useless here.

Answer choice (A): We don't have enough information to make a judgment this certain ("do not" is very strong").

Answer choice (B): "No insight" is far too strong; there may be other things we can learn from these tests.

Answer choice (C): This answer often sticks around as a Contender for most people. the problem is that we simply can't know what's going on here since the tests used don't provide reliable answers as far as what is or is not aggression. Thus, we can't say" song overlapping is likely not a signal of aggression".

Answer choice (D): "No communicative function" is again too strong. There could be other things going on other than aggression.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer, and mirrors the idea that the info introduced by the author makes us uncertain about whether these studies have made a valid claim.


By the way, the manner in which the stimulus is written is likely what's throwing you off. If I'd made the following argument, most people would find it a bit easier to analyze:


    Studies say that making fun of someone is a sign of aggression, and these studies are based on examining the person being made fun of. But any type of response can be interpreted as a reaction to aggression so how can we be sure that the person poking fun is really being aggressive?

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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kliu49
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Hello Dave,

Thanks for the thorough explanation! Yes, your analogies were helpful. Maybe birds also make fun of each other :-D

Having understood the stimulus now, I think I would've chosen a) and e) as contenders. I know you said a) has too strong of language. Is this based off that, hypothetically, birds could have predictable reactions, but the studies cannot confirm it?

Thanks!
Kat
Dave Killoran
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Hi Kat,

Yes, that's the basic idea there! Based on these tests, we really don't know a whole lot (hence (E) being correct), and since we don't know anything, we can't make a strong judgment in any direction. That immediately makes (A), (B), and (D) questionable because they are so strong.

Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran