LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

Get expert LSAT preparation and law school admissions advice from PowerScore Test Preparation.

 htngo12
  • Posts: 40
  • Joined: May 19, 2016
|
#33200
For this Resolve the Paradox question,

I was able to summarize the the stim with: bird and reptile species use hissing as threat device against predators, the way they produce the hissing sounds is similar enough that the behavior developed in common ancestor. The common ancestor would have lived, but its predators would have not acquired the anatomy to hear their hissing sounds.

The gap I see is predators hear the hissing sounds from bird and reptiles, while predators of common ancestor do not hear their sounds.

I picked E as my answer, with the initial thought process of : if the common ancestor had few predators then would not be able to hear as in comparison to the predators of birds and reptiles. But now I can see why E is an incorrect answer choice b/c in the stim it says 'none of predators'

I just can't see how C resolves the information.
 Jonathan Evans
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 676
  • Joined: Jun 09, 2016
|
#33215
Hi, htngo,

Good job summarizing the stimulus; however, to be successful at Resolve the Paradox questions, you actually will need to modify your analysis slightly. Basically, you need to focus on finding two statements or parts of the stimulus that appear incongruous; in other words, find two things that don't go together. When you pick out these two things, your reaction might be something like, "Hmmm... how could that be?"

In fact, if you find these two things and have that head-scratching reaction, you can be confident that you're already most of the way to answering these questions correctly.

For this question, the two issues are:
  1. Common ancestor of birds and reptiles probably had hissing sound as defense mechanism against predators.
  2. However, at that time no predator would have likely been able to hear this sound.
Now you need to ask yourself, "Why would it have been helpful for this animal to make a hissing sound even though its predators could not have heard this sound?"

Use this question as a prephrase to compare to the answer choices.

Notice with Answer Choice (E), there is no answer to this question. Even if there were few predators at the time, we still have no help understanding why this common ancestor would have made a hissing sound.

Contrast this with Answer Choice (C). If we knew that making the hissing sound made the animal bigger and perhaps more menacing, the hissing sound may have served some defensive purpose even though the predators could not hear it.

Does this make sense?
 htngo12
  • Posts: 40
  • Joined: May 19, 2016
|
#33228
Now it makes more sense to ask 'Why' after analyzing the differences. So when I chose an answer, it helps fill in the gap.

Thanks!
 Kristintrapp
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: Mar 14, 2017
|
#37638
I selected B. because I figured that the discrepancy was:

1. they used hissing as a threat
2. so then if their predators couldn't even hear it, why did they still survive?

Leading me to selecting B. (because they used other threat devices)

Why is this wrong?
 Jonathan Evans
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 676
  • Joined: Jun 09, 2016
|
#37661
Hi, Kristin,

Good question! The issue is that answer choice (B) only addresses one side of the paradox. That is, given your description of the two parts of the discrepancy, answer choice (B) gives a good reason why they might have survived in spite of the predators' inability to hear the hissing, but we still don't know what good hissing would do at all. A correct answer for a Resolve the Paradox question must tackle both sides of the discrepancy. In this case, not only do we need to know how they might have survived given the predators' inability to hear the hissing but we also need to know what good the hissing did. This answer choice just sidesteps the hissing altogether, and that's why it is not as helpful as the credited response, (C), which indicates both how these species might have survived and the purpose of the hissing.

I hope this helps!
User avatar
 AnimalCrossingLSATer
  • Posts: 13
  • Joined: Dec 27, 2020
|
#83364
Hi PowerScore!

I chose D on both my timed section test and untimed blind review, but had C as my contender as well. This is a Resolve the Paradox question; this was what I thought to be the paradox:

It’s likely that hissing developed from a common ancestor, yet this common ancestor had no predators that had the anatomy required to hear hissing.

My mindset, or general prephrase or prediction, was: Ok, there has to be another reason or rationale for how this common ancestor developed the ability to hiss.

Because I felt that the correct answer must have the concept of hissing in its answer choice, I eliminated B and E because neither had “hissing” in their choices, and also eliminated A because it’s missing the issue at hand (producing hissing sounds, not hearing them).

Reflecting on this, I feel that C is most consistent with what I was looking for (a rationale for the development of hissing in that common ancestor despite having no predators that are capable of hearing hissing), but then falling for D because it had the concepts of “threat device”, “hissing”, and “bird and reptile species”, so I felt that, because D had more concepts that match with the stimulus over C (C contains “hissing” and “common ancestor”), D would be correct.

D also makes a comparative statement regarding hissing: “less energetically costly than other threat behaviors”. I also thought, “ok, well if it’s less costly, then it’s more likely that they would have used hissing”. As I just typed that last sentence, I felt that that was an outside assumption that I brought in? But more importantly, it seems that D can be ruled out because it’s a comparative statement, attractive possibly because of the usage of three concepts from the stimulus, but wanted to make sure.

So my question is: is D incorrect because it’s a comparative statement that really doesn’t do much at all to resolve this paradox? Just wanted to make sure.

Thanks again for your assistance with this!

-Dustine B. (“AnimalCrossingLSATer”)
 Jeremy Press
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 850
  • Joined: Jun 12, 2017
|
#83565
Hi Dustine,

The conceptual focus you describe for your initial elimination method is probably fine. But be just a little careful on any Family 2 or 3 question (including Resolve the Paradox), because sometimes some new piece of information not discussed in the stimulus is actually just the thing you need to resolve (or to weaken, or strengthen, etc.).

The big problem with answer choice D is that it doesn't fully explain everything you're supposed to explain from the stimulus. We want to explain, not just in general why the common ancestor developed the hissing behavior. We want to explain specifically why it developed even though predators couldn't hear it. Answer choice D doesn't cut it, because it doesn't address that underlined fact. Okay, the behavior is more energy-efficient than some other threat behaviors. But if that behavior isn't something predators can hear, why would the common ancestor use it? There's nothing in answer choice D that answers that question specifically, whereas answer choice C does answer that question (they use it because they appear threatening to predators, regardless of what those predators can hear).

So the takeaway should be that you want an answer that fully explains the paradox, that addresses every key fact that's part of the paradox. Answer choice C is the best one for that full explanation on this question.

I hope this helps!
User avatar
 AnimalCrossingLSATer
  • Posts: 13
  • Joined: Dec 27, 2020
|
#83777
Jeremy Press wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:04 pm Hi Dustine,

The conceptual focus you describe for your initial elimination method is probably fine. But be just a little careful on any Family 2 or 3 question (including Resolve the Paradox), because sometimes some new piece of information not discussed in the stimulus is actually just the thing you need to resolve (or to weaken, or strengthen, etc.).

The big problem with answer choice D is that it doesn't fully explain everything you're supposed to explain from the stimulus. We want to explain, not just in general why the common ancestor developed the hissing behavior. We want to explain specifically why it developed even though predators couldn't hear it. Answer choice D doesn't cut it, because it doesn't address that underlined fact. Okay, the behavior is more energy-efficient than some other threat behaviors. But if that behavior isn't something predators can hear, why would the common ancestor use it? There's nothing in answer choice D that answers that question specifically, whereas answer choice C does answer that question (they use it because they appear threatening to predators, regardless of what those predators can hear).

So the takeaway should be that you want an answer that fully explains the paradox, that addresses every key fact that's part of the paradox. Answer choice C is the best one for that full explanation on this question.

I hope this helps!
Hi Jeremy -

Thanks very much for the helpful response! (I try to get takeaways whenever I get questions incorrect, so I really appreciate the fact that you included that near the end. :) )

-Dustine

Get the most out of your LSAT Prep Plus subscription.

Analyze and track your performance with our Testing and Analytics Package.