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#14 - In 1963, a young macaque monkey was observed

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Complete Question Explanation

Assumption. The correct answer choice is (B)

Because the troop of macaque monkeys adopted the behavior of spending time in the hot spring, the author concludes that the monkeys are able to adopt and pass on new patterns of social behavior. Notice that the argument explicitly rejects genetics as the cause for this behavior, stating that these macaques "are not complete captives of their genetic heritage":

    Cause ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... Effect

    Adopt/pass-on .......... Jump in hot spring

Whenever the author accepts a particular cause over another, her argument depends on assuming that the rejected cause played no role in constituting the accepted one. What if the ability to adopt and pass on new patterns of social behavior were itself a product of genetic heritage? If true, the argument would be illogical: therefore, the author assumes that such ability was not genetically predetermined. Answer choice (B) is correct.

Answer choice (A): If mutations in the genetic heritage can occur over a time span as short as a few years or decades, then perhaps the monkeys' behavior was the product of genetic mutations. This answer choice does the exact opposite of what is needed — it supports the alternative cause for the stated effect and is therefore incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. See discussion above.

Answer choice (C): Since the behavior in question did become typical among the macaque monkeys, this answer choice gives us no reason to reject genetic alterations as the probable cause for such behavior. This answer choice does the exact opposite of what is needed — it supports the alternative cause for the stated effect and is therefore incorrect.

Answer choice (D): This is perhaps the most attractive decoy answer. If the social behaviors of monkeys were completely independent of their genetic heritage, the conclusion is justified as true. However, notice that this is not a Justify the Conclusion question: we are not asked to strengthen the argument 100%. Our job is merely to state a necessary, missing premise for that conclusion. The argument does not rely on the idea that all social behaviors are completely independent of genetics. Rather, we only need to show that some social behaviors are not entirely dependent on genetics. This answer choice uses language that is too strong for Assumption questions. Always ensure that you answer Assumption questions with the most "minimalist" answer possible — the one best tailored to the particular conclusion at hand.

Answer choice (E): It is irrelevant whether this pattern of behavior will persist over several generations or not, as this can be due to either genetics or environmental factors. This answer choice is incorrect.
voodoochild
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Dear Experts,
While solving this question, I chose B) which is a correct answer. I believe that D) is a sufficient assumption question. Am I correct?

IF I say that the change in behavior was not entirely due to the genetics, then it's implied that there could be *some* influence of genetics. However, given a statement that genetics and social behavior are completely independent, or mutually exclusive, then that logically proves the claim. Correct?

Please let me know whether my understanding is correct. thanks
Steve Stein
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Hi Voodoochild,

I'll go through the basics of that one for the benefit of others who may be reading. In that one, one monkey's presence in the spring eventually became an entire troop, so the author concludes that this particular type of monkey is able to adopt and pass on social behavior, and is not entirely captive to its genetic heritage.

The question asks for an assumption required by the author's argument, and choice B provides that assumption:

New behaviors that emerge are not necessarily genetically predetermined.

What if we take away this assumption? Then new behaviors would be genetically predetermined, crushing the author's argument.

The problems with answer choice D:

First, the argument does not rely on the assumption of compete independence between the monkeys' social behavior and their genetic heritage. What if we take this assumption away?

The social behaviors of the macaque are not completely independent of their genetic heritage.

We can see that taking away the assumption in this answer choice does not hurt the author's argument, so it cannot be an assumption on which the author's argument relies.

And back to your original question: Would this answer choice be correct if this were a Justify the Conclusion question? No.

Complete independence between social behavior and genetic heritage would not prove that the monkeys were passing along behaviors rather than responding to genetic inclinations (maybe even that first monkey was purely genetically motivated).

I hope that's helpful! Let me know whether this answers your question.

Thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
PowerScore Test Preparation
voodoochild
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Steve,
Thanks for your detailed reply. I really don't have words.

Here's how I think about it after reading your reply. Please let me know whether my understanding is correct.

he conclusion is that "macaques' behavior was because of the adoption of new social behavior, and they are not complete captives of their genetic heritage."

Now when we negate D, "the social behaviors of macaques are not completely independent of their genetic heritage" ...this actually strengthens the author's argument!. It's a mild strengthener, but it strengthens.



Thoughts? Please let me know.

Voodoo Child
Steve Stein
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Hi Voodoochild,

Thanks for your response--glad to hear that this has been helpful.

As for this author's conclusion: the monkeys are not complete captives to their genes.

The negated version of D: The monkey's social behaviors are at least partially interwoven with their genetic heritage.

This doesn't necessarily effect the author's conclusion, and regardless, the Assumption Negation process is intended only to check the necessity of any given assumption.

I hope that's helpful too! Let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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