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 ericj_williams
  • Posts: 83
  • Joined: Jan 19, 2020
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#87009
Administrator wrote: Tue May 03, 2016 7:51 am Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (E)

Switching to Popelka could save you 15% or more on car insurance, right? Wrong! Here is why:

The advertisement boasts that most auto insurance policyholders could save hundreds of dollars by switching to Popelka. This is because new Popelka policyholders report savings of $250 a year, on average, as a result of making the switch. At first glance, this argument appears quite strong, at least until you encounter the question stem and realize there must be an error. This a critical moment: when the question stem indicates that an error is present, but you did not realize that one exists, you must return to the stimulus and analyze it for any flaws. Do not proceed to the answer choices thinking that they will clarify or reveal the error to you! On the contrary: four of the five answer choices are purposefully designed to draw your attention toward irrelevant side issues. It is far preferable that you find the error first, and then find the answer choice that correctly describes it.

Since the conclusion is based on the results of a survey, you need to examine the reliability of that survey. What can possibly go wrong with it? For one thing, notice that the conclusion makes a claim about “most people who hold auto insurance policies,” whereas the survey only talks about the savings reported by “new Popelka policyholders.” It is entirely possible that the two groups are not identical in their potential for saving money by switching their auto insurance. What if the Popelka policyholders represent a biased group, such that only those who expect to save money ultimately switch? If switching is a hassle, this might discourage those who don’t expect to save money from ever going through with it! This prephrase is crucial and quickly reveals answer choice (E) to be correct.

Answer Choice (A): The advertisement only reports the average amount of money saved per policyholder, and never promises that everyone who switches to Popelka will save money. Even if some new Popelka policyholders saved no money by switching, this would not weaken the conclusion of the argument.

Answer Choice (B): The advertisement makes no assumptions regarding the cost of Popelka auto insurance for new policyholders as compared to that of long-term policyholders.

Answer Choice (C): The advertisement never promised that switching to Popelka will save auto insurance policyholders the most amount of money possible. So, even if switching to another insurance company turns out to be more cost-effective than switching to Popelka, that does not negate the fact that people who switch to Popelka could save hundreds of dollars.

Answer Choice (D): The advertisement assumes that those who were surveyed did not overestimate how much they saved by switching to Popelka, but it does not have to assume the opposite assessment. Indeed, if any policyholders underestimated how much money they saved, this would only strengthen the conclusion that others could save money by switching.

Answer Choice (E): This is the correct answer choice: the argument fails to address the possibility that those most capable of saving money by switching to Popelka are the ones who are most likely to switch. If true, this would suggest a selection bias in the group surveyed, and prevent us from extrapolating the results to a wider sample of people.
But how can it be representative and disproportionate at the same time?

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