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#25 - Helena: Extroversion, or sociability, is not

est15
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Hi, I'm not really sure what to be looking for in questions that ask how the second speaker interprets the first speaker's arguments. Can you explain what characteristics the right answer should have? This is for #25 in the fourth section of PrepTest 32 but I'm wondering generally how to approach these types of problems. Thanks.
Ron Gore
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Hi Est!

The characteristics of the correct answer choice will depend not just on the stimulus but on the question stem as well. So, you can't really generalize about what you'll be looking for in the right answer choice just based on the fact that it's a two-speaker stimulus.

What I can say is that you always need to read both arguments and consider how they relate to each other. Often -- and especially when people make the mistake of reading the question stem first -- they'll just focus on the speaker primarily referenced by the question stem.

In the case of Question 25, it is a Must Be True question, but the question stem gives more specific direction. You're supposed to compare Jay's statements to Helena's and infer what it is Jay thought Helena was saying.

Helena's conclusion is that "Extroversion, or sociability, is not biologically determined." Jay says that her conclusion does not follow, or is invalid, because some children adopted by extroverts remained introverted. Essentially, Jay is saying that because it's not always the case that children born of introverted parents become extroverted when adopted by extroverts, then Helena's conclusion does not follow. If he thinks that, then he must have thought that when Helena said extroversion is not biologically determined, she meant that biology has nothing at all to do with it, rather than meaning that biology is not determinative, though it can play some contributing role in a child being introverted or extroverted. So, answer choice D is correct.

Please let me know if that clears things up, or if you need more assistance.

Thanks!

Ron
est15
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Thanks, Ron! That makes sense now.