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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen, CE. The correct answer choice is (D).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B):

Answer choice (C):

Answer choice (D):

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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Would someone mind walking through each answer choice on this question and your general thought process/approach?

I automatically eliminated D because although the first part does relate to the conclusion in the stimulus, the second part seems like it does not match. To clarify, in answer D: "deaf people experience increased blood pressure when they sign"; this does strengthen the first part of the conclusion, namely "the increases result from the psychological stress of communicating" but the second part of answer choice D, "but no change when they move their hands for other reasons" does not relate to the second part of the conclusion in the stimulus, "RATHER THAN from the physical exertion of speech production". From my perspective, "moving hands" is not equivalent to physical exertion of "speech production". Please advise. Thank you!
 Adam Tyson
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What you may be missing there, Lina, is that for a deaf person using sign language, moving their hands IS "the physical exertion of speech production"! What this answer does is tell us that when two physical actions are essentially equal (signing vs moving hands for other reasons) there is a difference in blood pressure depending on whether the person is communicating or not. That supports the claim that it is the stress of communicating that raises BP! It's not the same physical action that a speaking/hearing person uses to communicate, but it is an analogous situation that allows us to see that communicating correlates with higher blood pressure than not communicating while doing the same physical activity.

Keep in mind that a strengthen answer need not prove the conclusion is correct. All it has to do is help, even if only a little. While deaf people signing may experience different stresses than speaking/hearing people do when they speak, the analogy does lend some support to the general theory, and that's all we need it to do.

I'll let the official explanation (coming soon) walk you through the wrong answers, but none of them does anything to support the causal claim that elevated BP in these cases is from the stress of attempting to communicate. Only answer D does that.
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Here's my breakdown of the answer. Mind you I spent four minutes on this question so it wasn't easy:

A- The prompt strictly discusses raising blood pressures affecting communication. It's true that medications lowering BP might fail when speaking, but in this option fluctuations can mean go up or down. So although this strengthens the claim that speaking causes changes in BP, this isn't the strongest support that it raises them.

B- This would be helpful only if we had a relative understanding of how much BP goes up for introverts and extroverts, but the text doesn't mention it. So this argument does not strengthen any point in the prompt.

C- The wording of this answer was meant to be confusing. It helps the argument that there is a positive increase in BP in introverts, but it is weak since it only relates to a specific subset of introverts, can't be easily generalized to all introverts, and is a stretch to assume sensing BP is accurate, let alone not the source of stress itself.

D- This most closely supports the idea that communication is stressful and causes a physical response in BP elevation, given signing (communication) causes stress.

E- There was no link discussing how extroverts and introverts differ in chronic BP increases, or needing to lower their BP. In fact the text suggest short term BP increases are lower in extroverts. If this was because they are taking medication to lower their BP, this would actually weaken the assertion that it's stress from communication that causes the rise in BP, since it's actually differences in medication that causes it.

I could easily eliminate E, but had to think very hard between A, C, & D.
C had difficult wording but once I got it could eliminate it, and A was weaker than D, especially because of the word "fluctuations" since it didn't specify raising BP.
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I understand why D is correct, however, I would like to confirm if my reasoning as to why answer choice A is not is right. Choice A says, "Medications designed to lower blood pressure do not keep the people who take them from experiencing blood-pressure fluctuations when speaking." I think A would be incorrect because just because the medication is intended to lower someone's blood pressure, does not mean that it needs to keep it completely stable at all times. It is inevitable that we will have fluctuations in blood pressure (up or down), regardless if we take such a medication or not.

I also have a question based off of the explanation written by someone above. In a strengthen question, only the correct answer choice strengthens the argument at all. Correct? Or, can other answer choices strengthen to some degree that is not equivalent to (aka strengthens to a lesser degree) the correct answer choice?
 Adam Tyson
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Hey there Ari! The vast majority of Strengthen questions will have only one answer that strengthens the argument, with the other answers mostly having no impact at all and a few answers actually weakening the argument. Once in a while, though, they will toss in one answer choice that might reasonably be interpreted as helping the argument, but it is far less helpful than the correct answer. It will never be a close call - the correct answer will be head and shoulders above that other option.

Your analysis of answer A looks pretty good! I see A as just irrelevant, as it has nothing to do with whether a rise in blood pressure is due to physical exertion or psychological stress.

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