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 James Finch
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Hi Amiru,

(D) breaks down because while we know the increased sales from the advertising is what is funding the free computers, we don't know that this is the only conceivable way for these advertisers to offer the computers for free. Maybe they could sell advertising space on the physical computer itself? Or maybe the advertising wouldn't have to be continuous, but only periodic or when a user opens an application. Since we don't what the actual threshold is to offer the computers for free, nor how much over that threshold the increased sales are, we don't know that we couldn't make that up with other methods.

(B) doesn't work for the same reasons as (D), even more so because it's scope is even broader than (D). "No advertiser" means even a company like Google would be excluded from offering computers free of charge if consumers never use them to browse the internet. But if Google gave away 100 inexpensive computers for free, costing them let's say $50,000, would they be able to afford it? They have billions of dollars in the bank, so it's likely they could. That's just an example, but if there is a possible example that could give away computers for free, (B) does not have to be true.

Hope this helps!
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Thanks for the explanation! it helped a lot.
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Hi. I couldn't choose between A vs B but went with B due to the stimulus statement, last few lines of stimulus: " the advertisers can afford to offer the computer for free because of the increases sales that result from this precise targeting....."

B) is saying that No internet usage then the advertisers cannot give away from a free computer. which is directly supported by the "The advertisers can afford to off the computer for free because of the increases sales" As In that if no information available exist then the advertisers cannot afford to give away free comp.

As in that, I understand A) can be correct ... "Increased sales afford free comp" but I was thinking prior to increases sales part to be influential, there must be information available enabling such. which makes B) to be more MUST BE TRUE than A)
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In addition, the Test takers will not have a tool to prove A) whether some consumers who use a computer offered free of charge by advertisers for browsing the internet spend more money on purchases from those advertisers than they would if they did not use such a computer to browse the internet.... as in there never was explicitly given information that some consumers would do over another reference if a given a choice in the stimulus.
 Adam Tyson
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The stimulus did not say that the advertisers can afford to give the computers away for free ONLY because of the increased sales, lathlee. Increased sales is not a necessary condition, but merely one that helps them. There could be other things that would help them afford it, as mentioned earlier in this thread. That's why B doesn't have to be true.

If it is true that increased sales directly resulting from the targeted advertisements are helping to pay for cost of giving away the computers, then it must be true that those consumers targeted by the ads are, in fact, contributing to increased sales. They have to be buying things that they otherwise would not have bought. Otherwise, there are no increased sale to help cover the costs! Answer A is implied in the use of the term "increased sales."
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I chose the correct answer for this question (A).

However, in choosing the correct answer, I was initially stuck between A and C. I ruled C out because of "little is any money". I reasoned that the stimulus suggests only a comparison (and therefore it could be the case that people already purchase a lot of the advertised brand, but now with the use of these free computers, they purchase even more). As such, then, the stimulus does not support little (or even a lot for that matter). In other words, A is must be true and C is could be true.

Is this the reason that C can be ruled out? Or is there any other reason?

 Jay Donnell
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Hi AM7474!

Congrats on making the right choice, on a number 25 no less! This one is tricky, and I want to help you get a little more clarity as to why C is not an acceptable answer.

In Most Strongly Supported questions such as this, the logical force of an answer is a major factor in its viability. Sometimes however, like in this case, even what seems at first like a very weak statement may be hiding an unsupported claim.

In answer choice C here, it speaks to the buying habits of individual consumers who are offered these free, ad-ridden computers, but then deviates to what would happen to their spending habits if they didn't use those computers to browse the internet. We know from the stimulus that targeted advertising is in fact productive as it leads to increase sales of those products, which in turn helps financially sponsor the free computer program, but we have no idea what would happen to those consumers if they were not using those targeted computers to browse the internet. It seems a reasonable idea that they would not spend as much money on those products if not exposed directly to the targeted advertisements in these personal browsers, but that doesn't equate to them spending 'little, if any' on those products.

I hope that was helpful!
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 Dave Killoran
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We might as well knock out (E) while we are at it.

First, a reminder that this is a Must/MSS question format, and thus you need an answer that can be proven by information found in the stimulus or as a direct result of a combination of information in the stimulus. The stimulus here contains only premises, and does not contain a conclusion.

In this stimulus, the only mention of browsing pattern information is the following: "As consumers use the computers to browse the Internet, information about their browsing patterns is sent to the advertisers..." so we know it is sent to advertisers, but is there any indication that consumers can opt-out? No, and without any proof sitting in the stimulus, there's no justification for selecting (E) as being proven in some way.

If anything, (E) might weakens the implied conclusion that this "free computer" approach is a good/economical idea for advertisers.
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Does the positive predictive nature of A have anything to do with it being correct? (A) draws a conclusion about what consumers would do if provided with the computer, and says only that without the computer, that same behavior would be absent. This is fully supportable by the stimulus, if you piece-meal various parts together.

B) is out because it's out of scope - too broad to say "NO advertisers"
(C) includes negative predictive information, which we know nothing about - the stimulus doesn't provide information about consumers and where they spend "little if no" that means C can be eliminated

(D) seems to remove the effect (advertisers being able to offer computers for free) by predicting the elimination of the cause ("if advertisements [were not played] continuously across the screens whenever they were in use"...this leaves way too much room for speculation, which is one of the only ways I can justify eliminating it. What if they played at 5-15 second intervals and took up the whole screen, what if a ticker flashed at the bottom every hour, etc. This depends entirely on a definition of "continuous"...which is getting too far into the weeds, right?

Instead, we want to focus on what we DO know...that the advertisers are able to offer free computers because of increased sales that result from this "precise targeting" (we don't actually know anything about how those ads are displayed), which is what we see in A (and as a matter of fact A doesn't mention "continuous" at all), and that is why A is the best (read: easiest to defend) answer choice here?

I'm not sure exactly how to explain it, but I feel like there should be some fairly mechanical (in a linguistic sense) way to look at these answer choices and eliminate them based on nuance like negative prediction versus positive affirmation of what we know can and cannot happen.

Am I anywhere close to base on this?
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Shannon,

I'm not sure what you mean by positive prediction here. Answer choice (A) does not predict what WILL happen in the future; it talks about what we know is happening based on the stimulus. There's a counterfactual--if they DIDN'T have these computers with advertising, their behavior would be different. But that matches the information in the stimulus. If there's an increase in sales from these computer users, they must be engaging in different behavior.

The rest of the answer choices are not able to be proven by the information in the stimulus. That's all a Must Be True question is---asking you to find the answer choice that is provable by the information in the stimulus. Anything that's not provable is incorrect. Typically, those answer choices are ones that go beyond the information we have in one way or another, or ask us to make unwarranted assumptions.

Some question types lend themselves to a mechanistic sort of approach. Justify the Conclusion questions are great for having a mechanistic option. But Must Be True questions require you to look at the details of each stimulus and think individually about how the different facts work together. There's not really a way to mechanize the process because each stimulus is so different, and the options for how facts can work together are highly variable as well.

Hope that helps!

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