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#24 - Advertisement: In today's world, you make a statement

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True-SN. The correct answer choice is (B)

This advertisement discusses the Mach-5 SKX, providing the following reasoning:
“The message…is unambiguous: its owner is Dynamic, Aggressive, and Successful.”

This can be diagrammed as follows:

    Statement: own SKX → send message: Dynamic, Aggressive, and Successful

Answer choice (A): There is no suggestion by the ad that the three listed attributes must always go together, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice, even though its wording might at first appear a bit harsh. The idea is this: if owning the car sends an unambiguous message, it’s a bit like putting the message on a t-shirt: I am Dynamic, Aggressive, and Successful!
If you are not all three, then wearing such a t-shirt is a misrepresentation, just like owning the SKX.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice is incorrect, because we don’t know anything about the relative aggressiveness of those who purchase the car (we know the message that they send, but the owners might tend to misrepresent themselves). Additionally, even if every SKX driver were dynamic, aggressive, and successful, there would be no way to assess their relative level of aggressiveness.

Answer choice (D): The fact that the SKX makes such an announcement does not mean that the SKX has exclusive rights to the message of success. There is no way to know, based on the stimulus, whether there are other cars that make such representations, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This is a fairly tricky wrong answer, but the vital distinction here is that between message sender and message receiver. The SKX may send an unambiguous message (like the t-shirt example from the discussion of answer choice (B) above), but that doesn’t mean that everyone understands that message (not everyone would be able to read the t-shirt either, but the shirt (and in this case, the car) might still send a very clear message.
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So for this one I screwed it up because I got the sufficient and necessary conditions mixed up. My diagram was DAS :arrow: OSKX and therefore I thought B was a MN. How do I avoid making this kind of mistake?

When reading the stimulus should I just use the if _______ then it is required that ______ if I am ever confused as to which is nec. and suff. ?

Nikki Siclunov
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Hi rameday,

Think of the sufficient condition as something that sends a signal, i.e. an indication that a necessary condition must occur. Meanwhile, the necessary condition is required by the sufficient condition.

In this particular example, owing the car sends a signal that you're dynamic, aggressive, and successful. Thus, if you own the car, then you must be DAS.

OSKX :arrow: DAS

I tend to reduce any conditional relationship to its basic if... then form. There is no way to ever mix it up if you do this.

Hope this helps!
Nikki Siclunov
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I don't understand why "B" is correct and "A" is not. They seem to be saying the same thing in different ways. The explanation that the 3 characteristics of Dynamic, Aggressive, and Successful don't always go together is not clear to me.
Luke Haqq
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Hi wilu24,

To see why (B) is the better answer, try setting up the advertiser's claims as conditional statements. So the claim is about the SKX Mach-5:

owner of SKX :arrow: dynamic & aggressive & successful

contrapositive: not dynamic or not aggressive or not successful :arrow: not owner of SKX

(B) is another wording of the contrapositive. Since the question stem asks us to suppose the claims in the advertisement are true, then we can see from the contrapositive that if a person is missing any of the given attributes, then they would not be sending an accurate message by driving the SKX. (B) only mentions two of the attributes, but that is enough, since it asks you to suppose the owner was missing one or the other, either of which would be sufficient to conclude the owner was conveying an inaccurate representation to others by driving the SKX.

This is a Must Be True question, but we aren't given any truth claims about the relationship between dynamic, aggressive, and successful, which is why (A) can't be correct. We only know that all three are conveyed to others when one drives the SKX.
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From the statement in the stimulus, "In today's world, you make a statement about the person you are by the car you own," I gathered that the personal statement is dependent on the car you drive so it would be PS-->C.

From my understanding, the sufficient is dependent on the necessary.

The book explanation says it is C-->PS, but I do not understand why.

Why is car the sufficient and the statement about person the necessary?

Please help.
Clay Cooper
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Hi Usma,

Thanks for your question, I understand your confusion - this conditional rule is stated in a way that makes it difficult to interpret.

However, if we believe the advertisement (and, for he purposes of answering this Must Be True question, we do), then owning a car is an act that causes a personal statement to be made. That suggests the correct form of the rule: C --> PS, with the cause on the left and the effect on the right.

By contrast, if the rule were PS --> C, then making a personal statement would be enough to prove that one owns a car. However, this is an incorrect interpretation of what this author has told us; for instance, he or she has not said anything about making a personal statement in a Personal Statement essay on a law school application. It would be erroneous to conclude that if one has made a personal statement, then one necessarily owns a car - our essay example proves that.

In short, remember - the cause is the sufficient condition and goes on the left, while the purported effect is the necessary condition and goes on the right.
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Thanks Cooper! I was not looking at the question from the advertiser's perspective, which clearly changes the conditional relationship.
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I don't understand why B is the correct answer and not E. I diagrammed the claims correctly ( if sky owner then D, A, S and the contrapositive if not D or not A or S then not sky owner). However, is it not possible to to be just aggressive and meet the standard for owning sky. I thought that was reasoning behind the use of the "or" unless you eliminated the possibility then it was still possibly to meet the necessary condition? Thank you.
Adam Tyson
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Let's start with why E is not a good answer and should be eliminated as a "loser". Remember that in Must Be True questions we must stick to the information provided in the stimulus, and anything that brings up new information fails our "Fact Test." What are the facts? The message you send out by owning an SKX is that you are D, A, and S. That's it - nothing more.

What does the stimulus tell us about what others might recognize? Nothing. Yes, it's true that the message the car sends out is unambiguous, and that sounds a good bit like everyone ought to recognize those characteristics, but look carefully at what answer E actually says and you'll see that it is not about the car and its message, but about recognizing those characteristics in the person, regardless of the car. In other words, you should be able to spot someone who would own the SKX just walking down the street, sitting in a coffee shop, etc. Absent the car, do we know whether these people project some aura that says they are D, A, and S? Not based on this stimulus we don't.

Now, take another look at answer B and pair it with the stimulus. The car sends out an unambiguous message that the owner is D, A, and S. If you are not all three of those things, then owning that car sends out a false message. Answer B omits any reference to A, but does that matter? Nope - you have to be all three if you are to be honest in owning that car, so if you aren't D you are misrepresenting yourself, and if you aren't A you are misrepresenting yourself, and if you aren't S you are misrepresenting yourself, and not being any combination of those would be just as false. Why did they leave out A in answer B? To mess with you, distract you, make you reject the right answer. They're tricky like that. Look back to the question in the lesson about John, Mary and Theresa in the waiting room of the athletic office and you'll see the same trick being played in the correct answer there.
Adam M. Tyson
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