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#14 - Psychologist: We asked 100 entrepreneurs and 100

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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (D)

Thy psychologist concludes that people who are especially overconfident are more likely to attempt
to start a business than people who are less confident. As evidence, she points to a study in which the
entrepreneurs showed a higher level of confidence in their responses than did the business managers.

There are several problems with the psychologist’s argument. First, by implying that overconfidence
makes one more likely to attempt to start a business, she ignores the possibility that some of the
entrepreneurs may have become especially overconfident after starting their businesses, not before. It
is also possible that they had attempted to start a business for reasons having nothing to do with their
personality traits.

Furthermore, consider the fact that both groups—the entrepreneurs as well as the business
managers—were deemed “overconfident” in their responses to the survey; the entrepreneurs were
simply more so than the business managers. This fact alone does not make the entrepreneurs
“especially overconfident,” because the phrase is too vague and conveys an absolute quality despite
the comparative nature of the survey results. It is entirely possible that the members of both groups
would classify as “especially overconfident” in general, which begs the question as to why business
managers were less likely to start a business than entrepreneurs.

Answer choice (A): It is entirely irrelevant what kinds of questions were asked of the participants in
the study. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the Opposite answer. If at least some of the entrepreneurs had accurately
determined what the odds were against success, one could argue that their attempts were prompted
not by overconfidence, but by a realistic assessment of the risks involved. This interpretation would
weaken, not strengthen, the conclusion of the argument, because it would propose an alternate
cause for the decisions made. After all, overconfidence implies bias in which someone’s subjective
confidence in their judgments or abilities is reliably greater than the objective accuracy of these
judgments. The entrepreneurs would not be considered “overconfident” if they had accurately
determined the risks involved.

Answer choice (C): Whether confidence and success in business are correlated has no bearing on
whether confidence and entrepreneurship are also correlated. One can be successful in business
without being an entrepreneur, and vice versa—one can be an entrepreneur without being successful.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. If the business managers who were “most
overconfident” had attempted to start businesses in the past, this finding would further associate
particularly high levels of confidence with entrepreneurship, and strengthen the conclusion of the
argument.

Answer choice (E): At first glance, this seems like an attractive answer because it suggests that
someone’s confidence in answering the survey questions would be a suitable proxy for her
confidence in general. However, there is a difference in scope between being confident in one’s
business acumen and being overconfident in general. Since our job is to strengthen the correlation
between general overconfidence and entrepreneurship, this answer choice falls short of lending the
most support to the psychologist’s conclusion.
Nina
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Q14:
I think answer B strengthens the conclusion by eliminating the possibility that those entrepreneurs were clearly aware of the odds against success, it is therefore due to their confidence that they started business (not because they were unaware of the odds). Thus i'm wondering that is answer B wrong because compared with D it strengths less, or is answer B totally out of scale? :oops:


Many thanks!
Steve Stein
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Hey Nina,

Interesting question. In that one a survey that shows entrepreneurs to be particularly overconfident leads the author to conclude that very overconfident people are more likely to start a business despite the odds against success.

The question asks for the answer choice that most strengthens the author's argument.

Answer choice D strengthens by providing that even people in the manager group who were overconfident (not just the "entrepreneurs")

B says "at least some," which really could mean just one--not such a strong claim.

I hope that's helpful--let me know--thanks!

~Steve
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Nikki Siclunov
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Thy psychologist concludes that people who are especially overconfident are more likely to attempt to start a business than people who are less confident. As evidence, she points to a study in which the entrepreneurs showed a higher level of confidence in their responses than did the business managers.

See, to me answer choice (B) actually weakens the argument. If at least some of the entrepreneurs had accurately determined what the odds were against success, one could argue that their attempts were prompted not by overconfidence, but by a realistic assessment of the risks involved. This interpretation would weaken, not strengthen, the conclusion of the argument, because it would propose an alternate cause for the decisions made. After all, overconfidence implies bias in which someone’s subjective confidence in their judgments or abilities is reliably greater than the objective accuracy of these judgments. The enterpreneurs would not be considered “overconfident” if they had accurately determined the risks involved.
Nikki Siclunov
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Nina
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hey Steve and Nikki,
Thank you both very much for your responses. They are indeed very helpful!
mkuo
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Hi all,

The conclusion states "people who are especially overconfident are more likely to attempt to start a business in spite of the enormous odds against success than people who are less confident."

I chose (B) but the correct answer is (D). Why?

How does having overconfident business managers that attempted to start business in the past help support the conclusion? Especially the part/condition that I italicized? It seems to me that "in spite of enormous odds against success" is the key. Overconfident business managers could start business without having enormous odds against success.

(B) includes that key.
Entrepreneurs are more overconfident than business manager.
Overconfident people are more likely to attempt business in spite of bad odds.

So logically at least some overconfident people MUST know there are bad odds before attempting. Hence (B).

Whereas for (D), overconfident business managers attempted to start businesses in the past, so what? They could do it NOT KNOWING the odds, or KNOWING there are good odds (or bad odds). How could this support the conclusion when it's missing a crucial point?

Please help!
Steve Stein
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That's a tough question. In a comparison between 100 entrepreneurs and 100 managers, the entrepreneurs tended to be more overconfident. The author concludes that people who are particularly overconfident are more likely to start a business.

(NOTE: One aspect that makes this one tricky is that when the author points out the enormous odds against success, it doesn't really have any effect on the argument. It's like saying overconfident people are more likely to start a business, despite the significant challenges that go along with such an undertaking.)

The question asks for the choice that lends support to the idea that overconfident people are more likely to start a business. That means that the correct answer choice will strengthen the link between overconfidence and starting a business. Answer choice D provides that support: Even the overconfident managers had tried to start a business in the past--this strengthens the assertion that overconfident people are more likely to try to start a business.

Answer choice B provides that "at least some" of the entrepreneurs had had a good idea what they were getting into. Beware of choices that begin with "at least some," because that is a very weak bit of information: the claim here is that at least one of the entrepreneurs had a good idea of his or her prospects for success. That doesn't really play into the claim that overconfident people are more likely to start a business in general (with or without an accurate assessment of their prospects).

I hope that's helpful--please let me know whether everything is clear--thanks!

~Steve
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mkuo
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Hi Steve!

Thanks for the reply!

After reading the stem a few more times and your comment, I'm afraid I still don't understand exactly why enormous odds against success or your rewording significant challenges that go along with such an undertaking not having any impact on the argument.

Doesn't it contribute to the conclusion by making it more specifically?

With it, we have here "a type of people (overconfidence), who are more likely to perform an action (start business), under a certain condition (despite bad odds)".

You mentioned how that condition doesn't really have an effect on the argument. But the lack of that condition, in my thinking, would certainly change the conclusion, making (D) the obvious choice.
Furthermore, I feel anyone can easily argue the contrary:
Lets say I pick (D) and it turns out to be wrong, the test maker can just as easily argue that yes the condition DOES matter, as it limits the action of starting business more specifically... anyone with any degree of confidence can start any business, but those overconfident ones would start business knowing the odds are against them.

I hope I'm not digressing here. If you could perhaps elaborate a little bit more on how that condition wouldn't affect the argument, it would be of tremendous help to me!
Steve Stein
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Thanks for your response. The issue with "despite the enormous odds against success" is that it doesn't really add anything new to the referenced act of starting of a business. It's more of a side comment by the author, generally describing the act of starting a business.

Any other factor that is associated with starting a business in general doesn't really change the analysis--the argument would not be affected, in other words, if the author had talked about the overconfident people's likelihood of starting a business "despite enormous odds against success," "even though doing it can be hard," or "in spite of the paperwork required."

I hope that's helpful. Please let me know--thanks!

~Steve
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Sdaoud17
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I am having a hard time understanding the C , I mean Even though C is a general statement, it is actually help or strength the Conclusion the people who are overconfident are more likely to start a business or success to start a business.


Also , I am having a problem with D , Is even if the business mangers who were most overconfident were found to be attempted to start a business in the past , This Is doesnot mean that they are not trying Now . I totally dont agree with this !!! :-? :-? :-? :-?

CAn you explain more ? Thank you :-D