• NEW! FREE Beat The GMAT Quizzes
    NEW! FREE Beat The GMAT Quizzes
    NEW! FREE Beat The GMAT Quizzes
    Hundreds of Questions Highly Detailed Reporting Expert Explanations TAKE A FREE GMAT QUIZ
  • 7 CATs FREE!
    If you earn 100 Forum Points

    Engage in the Beat The GMAT forums to earn
    100 points for $49 worth of Veritas practice GMATs FREE

    Veritas Prep
    VERITAS PRACTICE GMAT EXAMS
    Earn 10 Points Per Post
    Earn 10 Points Per Thanks
    Earn 10 Points Per Upvote
    REDEEM NOW

People with high blood pressure are generally more nervous a

This topic has 2 expert replies and 0 member replies

People with high blood pressure are generally more nervous a

Post

Timer

00:00

Your Answer

A

B

C

D

E

Global Stats

Difficult



People with high blood pressure are generally more nervous and anxious than people who do not have high blood pressure. This fact show that this particular combination of personality traits-the so called hypertensive personality-is likely to cause a person with these traits to develop high blood pressure.

The reasoning in the argument is most vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that the argument

(A) fails to define the term “hypertensive personality”
(B) presupposes that people have permanent personality traits
(C) simply restates the claim that there is a “hypertensive personality” without providing evidence to support that claim.
(D) takes a correlation between personality traits and high blood pressure as proof that the traits cause high blood pressure.
(E) focuses on nervousness and anxiety only, ignoring other personality traits that people with high blood pressure might have

OA D

Source: Manhattan Prep

  • +1 Upvote Post
  • Quote
  • Flag
Post
This argument demonstrates a very common logical flaw: CORRELATION v. CAUSATION.

We're given that "people with high blood pressure are generally more nervous and anxious than people who do not have high blood pressure." In other words, these two phenomena tend to occur together.

Then, we're given this conclusion: "This fact show that this particular combination of personality traits-the so called hypertensive personality-is likely to cause a person with these traits to develop high blood pressure."

It is a logical fallacy to assume that because X and Y occur together, X must have caused Y. In many cases, there could be other explanations:

1. Y caused X instead.
Ex: "Whenever I see people carrying umbrellas, it's always raining. Therefore, umbrellas must cause rain." Nope! The causation is the other way around.

2. Some 3rd event Z caused both X and Y.
Ex: "People tend to get more sunburns at times of year when ice cream sales are high. Therefore, ice cream must cause sunburns." Nope, these were both caused by the external factor of Summer, but they're unrelated to each other.

3. It's a coincidence.
See here for examples: http://tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

Answer choice D states exactly what we're looking for: the argument is flawed because it conflates correlation with causation.

_________________


Ceilidh Erickson
Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


Manhattan Prep instructors all have 99th+ percentile scores and expert teaching experience.
Sign up for a FREE TRIAL, and learn why we have the highest ratings in the GMAT industry!

  • +1 Upvote Post
  • Quote
  • Flag
Free Manhattan Prep online events - The first class of every online Manhattan Prep course is free. Classes start every week.
Free Manhattan Prep online events - The first class of every online Manhattan Prep course is free. Classes start every week.
  • PrepScholar GMAT
    5 Day FREE Trial
    Study Smarter, Not Harder

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    PrepScholar GMAT
  • Magoosh
    Magoosh
    Study with Magoosh GMAT prep

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Magoosh
  • Economist Test Prep
    Free Trial & Practice Exam
    BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Economist Test Prep
  • Veritas Prep
    Free Veritas GMAT Class
    Experience Lesson 1 Live Free

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Veritas Prep
  • e-gmat Exclusive Offer
    Get 300+ Practice Questions
    25 Video lessons and 6 Webinars for FREE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    e-gmat Exclusive Offer
  • EMPOWERgmat Slider
    1 Hour Free
    BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    EMPOWERgmat Slider
  • Target Test Prep
    5-Day Free Trial
    5-day free, full-access trial TTP Quant

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Target Test Prep
  • Kaplan Test Prep
    Free Practice Test & Review
    How would you score if you took the GMAT

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Kaplan Test Prep
  • The Princeton Review
    FREE GMAT Exam
    Know how you'd score today for $0

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    The Princeton Review
  • Varsity Tutors
    Award-winning private GMAT tutoring
    Register now and save up to $200

    Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

    MORE DETAILS
    Varsity Tutors

Top First Responders*

1 Jay@ManhattanReview 70 first replies
2 fskilnik@GMATH 50 first replies
3 Brent@GMATPrepNow 50 first replies
4 GMATGuruNY 33 first replies
5 Rich.C@EMPOWERgma... 27 first replies
* Only counts replies to topics started in last 30 days
See More Top Beat The GMAT Members

Most Active Experts

1 image description fskilnik@GMATH

GMATH Teacher

106 posts
2 image description Brent@GMATPrepNow

GMAT Prep Now Teacher

94 posts
3 image description Max@Math Revolution

Math Revolution

93 posts
4 image description Jay@ManhattanReview

Manhattan Review

82 posts
5 image description GMATGuruNY

The Princeton Review Teacher

77 posts
See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts