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Assumption. The correct answer choice is (B)
The author compares two advertisements for a TV drama: the network’s ad, and the ad favored by the program’s producers. The network’s ad apparently misrepresents the program, which the author fears would create false expectations and lower the chances that viewers would return to watch subsequent episodes. As a result, the author believes that the ad favored by the program’s producers would be more effective at attracting loyal viewers than the network’s ad.
The stimulus has a confusing structure, with the conclusion appearing in the beginning of the second sentence (notice the conclusion indicator “thus”). The first sentence introduces a premise, as does the second clause of the second sentence. Note that semicolons after a conclusionary claim generally introduce evidence for that claim, acting as premise indicators. The argument, when restructured, can be summarized as follows:
- Premise: The TV network’s ad for its new drama misrepresents what the drama is like.
Premise: Viewers who are misled about the first episode are unlikely to continue watching the program.
Cause Effect/Cause Effect
Network’s ad Misrepresents drama Unlikely to continue watching
Conclusion: The ad preferred by the producers would be more effective in attracting loyal viewers than the network’s ad.
Test makers often play on the distinction between relative states and absolute states within arguments. This distinction is often subtle and can be difficult to spot. Because this is an assumption question, the answer you select must contain a statement upon which the argument depends, i.e. a statement that is necessary for the conclusion to be true. Typically, if you see a new or “rogue” element in the conclusion, look for a Supporter assumption answer that links the new element (the ad preferred by the producers) back to the premises.
Answer choice (A): This answer choice contains an exaggeration. If the author worries that viewers would be misled by the network’s advertisement, clearly she must assume that at least some viewers tune in to the first episode because of the ad. We need not assume, however, that most viewers do so.
Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. Since the author never explicitly described the merits of the ad favored by the program’s producers, a correct Supporter Assumption needs to establish that this ad would not have misrepresented the program. Answer choice (B) fits the bill. To verify your answer, apply the Assumption Negation Technique and ask yourself, “What would the author say to this negation?”
- “The advertisement that the program’s producers favored would have grossly misrepresented what the program would be like.”
Answer choice (C): As with answer choice (A), this one contains an exaggeration (“most”). Granted, if the network’s ad is as ineffective as the author claims, then many of those who become loyal viewers of the drama will probably do so in spite of having seen it, not because of it. This may be an implication of the author’s conclusion, but it is certainly not an assumption upon which it depends. Furthermore, no assumptions have been made with respect to the behavior of “most” people.
Answer choice (D): As with answer choices (A) and (C), this one contains an exaggeration (“almost all”). The author assumes that the ad favored by the program’s producers would turn more first-time viewers into loyal followers than the network’s ad would, not that it would turn most of them into loyal followers. If the latter were true, then the conclusion would clearly be strengthened. Such a statement, however, is not necessary for the conclusion to be true, because even if less than half of the first-time viewers return to watch the show as a result of the ad favored by the show’s producers, it is still possible that this ad is more effective than the rejected alternative.
Answer choice (E): As with answer choices (A), (C), and (D), the author makes no assumptions with respect to the behavior of “most” people. The argument is only concerned with whether first-time viewers who watch the first episode of the show would return to watch subsequent episodes. Those who become loyal viewers without seeing the first episode represent a group that is irrelevant to the author’s conclusion.