Parallel Flaw. The correct answer choice is (B)
The first statement presented in this stimulus is that only experienced salespeople will be able to meet the company’s selling quota. In other words, if you are going to meet the company’s sales quota, then you must be an experienced salesperson:
- quota experienced salesperson
The writer concludes that if one doesn’t achieve the quota, one must not be an experienced salesperson:
- quota experienced salesperson
This is a clear case of Mistaken Negation. We are asked which answer choice reflects the flawed pattern of reasoning in the stimulus, so the correct choice will be the one which reflects an analogous Mistaken Negation.
Answer choice (A): The first conditional statement provided here is that employees are allowed to dress casually only on Fridays. The author of this answer choice concludes, based on Hector’s formal dress, that he must not be going to work. The reasoning contained in this answer choice is flawed, because Hector might still go to work on Friday, and opt out of the casual option. This is not a Mistaken Negation, however, so this choice does not parallel the flawed reasoning found in the stimulus.
Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. This answer choice offers a conclusion based on a conditional statement:
- Premise: Only music lovers take this class.
Flawed conclusion: Since Hillary’s not taking the class, she’s not a music lover.
Premise: take class music lover
Flawed Conclusion: take class music lover
This flaw is the same as that found in the stimulus: Mistaken Negation.
Answer choice (C): This answer choice provides the following conditional reasoning:
- Premise: Only oceanographers enjoy the Atlantic in midwinter—that is, if you enjoy the Atlantic in the midwinter, you must be an oceanographer.
Conclusion: Since Gerald is not an oceanographer, he can be expected not to enjoy the Atlantic in midwinter. This valid conclusion is the contrapositive of the conditionally stated premise.
The above can be diagrammed as follows:
- Premise: Enjoy Atl MW oceanographer
Valid Conclusion: Oceanographer Enjoy Atl MW
Since the conclusion above is a valid contrapositive of the original statement, this sound reasoning cannot parallel the flawed reasoning reflected the stimulus.
Answer choice (D): This answer choice presents the following conditional reasoning:
- Premise: It is only in the northern latitudes that we would find giant redwoods; that is, if we see a giant redwood, we must be in the northern latitudes.
Conclusion: We are looking at a giant redwood, so we must be in the northern latitudes.
As we can see, the above conclusion represents a restatement of a conditional rule:
- Premise: Redwood Northern latitudes
Conclusion: Redwood Northern latitudes
Since this choice is based on sound reasoning, it cannot parallel the flaw in the stimulus.
Answer choice (E): This answer choice reflects the following flawed conditional reasoning:
- Premise: Only accomplished mountain climbers can scale El Capitan; that is, if one can scale El Capitan, that person is an accomplished climber.
Conclusion: Since Michelle is an accomplished climber, she must be able to scale El Capitan.
The reasoning in this answer choice is flawed, but it is not a mistaken negation, as we can see when we diagram the above conditional statements:
- Premise: EC AMC
Conclusion: AMCM ECM
This is a Mistaken Reversal, rather than a Mistaken Negation. Because this answer choice does not employ the same pattern of flawed reasoning as that reflected in the stimulus, this answer choice should be eliminated.