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Ugh... parallel reasoning - always tough

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Ugh... parallel reasoning - always tough

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Studies show that children who watch too much television are more likely than others to become obese adults. Jacob, who is an obese adult, must have watched more television as a child than I did, since I am not obese.

Which of the following most closely parallels the logical structure above ?

(A) The hardware store on Main Street must have had a bigger advertisement in the Sunday paper than the hardware store around the corner had. The hardware store on Main Street sold twice as many items as the hardware store around the corner did last week, and a Sunday paper advertisement has been shown to increase the number of items sold.

(B) Studies show that large dogs lives shorter lives, on average, than small dogs do. Rex is a large dog and therefore might be expected to live a shorter life than Mustang, who is a small dog.

(C) The county superintendent stated that all schools would be canceled for the day if snowfall last night were greater than six inches. Therefore, since the snowfall was only five inches, we must be following the usual school schedule today.

(D) According to research, people with unusual musical talent do not achieve their true potential unless they are given formal lessons. Therefore Jesse, who has achieved his full musical potential without formal lessons must not have unusual musical talent.

(E) People who like vegetables also like fruits. Elizabeth does not like fruits, so she must not like vegetables either.

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I'll go with A on this one.

P1: Studies show that children who watch too much television are more likely than others to become obese adults
P2: Jacob is an obese adult
P3: I am not obese
C1: Jacob must have watched more television as a child than I did

Notes on the Premises and Conclusion
1. P1 describes a causal relationship between two variables (the cause is television watching and the effect is obesity).
2. P2 describes an individual in terms of the “effect” described in P1 (obesity).
3. P3 describes another individual in terms of the “effect” described in P1 (obesity).
4. The conclusion compares the two individuals and makes an inference. It is interesting to note that P1 is predictive “If you watch more television as a child you are more likely to be obese as an adult.” The conclusion reverses this and makes an inference based on the characteristics described in P1. “Jacob is obese and I’m not, therefore Jacob must have watched more television as a child.” Compare this to a prediction, “Jacob and I are children. Jacob watches more television than I do therefore he is more likely to be obese when he grows up.”

Elements to Look For:
1. A premise with a causal relationship
2. A comparison between two entities in terms of the “effect” described in the causal relationship.
3. A conclusion that makes an inference and not a prediction.

(A) Correct
P1: A Sunday paper advertisement has been shown to increase the number of items sold
P2: The hardware store on Main Street sold “2X” items last week.
P3: The hardware store around the corner sold “X” items last week.
C1: The hardware store on Main Street must have had a bigger advertisement in the Sunday paper than the hardware store around the corner had.

I feel this answer is correct. It seems to have everything I want. First, a causal relationship “a Sunday paper advertisement (cause) leads to an increase in items sold (effect)”. Second, with a little reworking, we have two premises (P2 and P3) that describe two entities in terms of the “effect” described in the first premise. Lastly, a conclusion that makes an inference.

Additionally, at first “a bigger advertisement” seemed a little odd but it parallels Jacob watching “more television”.

(B) Incorrect
P1: Studies show that large dogs live shorter lives, on average, than small dogs do.
P2: Rex is a large dog
P3: Mustang is a small dog
C1: Rex might be expected to live a shorter life than Mustang

This answer was very tempting. It looks so good that it is suspicious. P1 even starts off the same as P1 in the main passage, “Studies show that…” The premises match up fairly well. However, P2 and P3 describe two entities (dogs) in terms of the cause in P1 (size of dog). The main passage described Jacob and "I" in terms of the effect (obesity).

Also, the conclusion makes a prediction. The conclusion in the main passage makes an inference. I would have preferred the conclusion to state something like, "Rex lived a considerably shorter life than Mustang, therefore he was most likely a large dog".

Of course it is already stated in the premises that Rex is a large dog. In order for this answer to work the premises would need to describe the dogs in terms of how long they lived. Then, based on the dog's life spans the conclusion would need to make an inference about the size of the dog.

(C) Incorrect
P1: The county superintendent stated that all schools would be canceled for the day if snowfall last night were greater than six inches
P2: The snowfall was only five inches
C1: We must be following the usual school schedule today.

This conclusion makes an inference. However, this passage doesn’t compare anything. We need an argument that compares two entities.

(D) Incorrect
P1: According to research, people with unusual musical talent do not achieve their true potential unless they are given formal lessons.
P2: Jesse has achieved his full musical potential without formal lessons
C1: Jesse must not have unusual musical talent.

This conclusion also makes an inference but doesn’t compare anything. We need an argument that compares two entities.

(E) Incorrect
P1: People who like vegetables also like fruits.
P2: Elizabeth does not like fruits.
C1: She must not like vegetables either.

Similar to (C) and (D) this conclusion makes an inference but it doesn’t compare anything. We need an argument that compares two entities.

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IMO D

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I think it should be between B and D

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Even i feel the OA is D.

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OA is A.

“Mimic the reasoning” is a rare type of question but an important one to study. Not only in case you do get one of these questions on the test, but also because this type of question helps you to understand reasoning in general.

rkanthilal - You are doing this well. With mimic questions I like to make a list of the characteristics I am looking for in the correct answer as well. Another great explanation.

Here is the official explanation:

In this Mimic the Reasoning question, the original argument is flawed. Thus the correct answer will reproduce the error in the original argument. Based on the premise that too much television leads to a greater likelihood of obesity, the author draws the conclusion that someone who is obese MUST have watched more television than someone who is not obese. The argument ignores possible alternative causes for obesity (diet, genetic predisposition, etc.). Television viewing ---> obesity does not mean that Obesity ---> television. Any correct answer should contain the same flawed reasoning that IF A, THEN B also implies IF B, THEN A.

Answer (A) is correct because the premise is that a bigger Sunday ad leads to more items sold. The erroneous conclusion is that if more items were sold, the cause must have been a bigger Sunday ad. This argument ignores possible alternative causes for the number of items sold (location, selection, etc.). Answer (B) is incorrect because it provides a premise and then a specific example that fits the premise. It is not flawed and does not match the original logical structure. Answer (C) is incorrect because it provides information about how the school schedule will change if 6 inches of snow fall. The conclusion, which is not necessarily true, assumes that there will not be a change to the school schedule if fewer than 6 inches of snow fall. In fact, we don't know what will happen when 5 inches of snow fall. This is a different flaw than in the original argument. Answers (D) and (E) present valid arguments and thus do not match the original.

Does anyone still have questions on this one?

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Parallel Reasoning questions certainly are time consuming. Let's all consider ourselves lucky however, in the LSAT they appear much more frequently. I remember wasting so much time on those questions during my LSAT study.

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I have the following minor issue with option A

The premise has "obese adult" ("OA") ---> its a fact. J was an OA. He was an OA not be cause he was more obese than I am, but because his condition once he became an adult matched the status of someone who is a prototype for an OA (a fact).

In option A, the Sunday paper ad ("SPA") leads to an 'increase of the number of items sold' (the prototype "Increase") ---> the Increase is a fact; it is so because the increase happened when tested against the case which is a prototype for an Increase. Option A states that Main Street sales > corner store but it does not specify that corner store's sales also did not experience an Increase.

The absence of this fact results in a minor discrepancy as option A does not perfectly mimic the OA scenario where I am NOT an OA but J is an OA and based on that a conclusion is drawn that he must have watched more TV as a child. Here the corner store could also have experienced an Increase like the Main Street:

Lets say corner store sold 1.2 units before the ad and Main Street sold 2.9 units.
Sun ad was placed.
Next, corner store sells 1.5 units after the ad and Main Street sells 3 units. The sales of Main Street are twice that of corner store. So both experienced an Increase.

It would have been a perfect match for the statement if the possibility of an Increase for the corner store had been excluded.
The OA <-----> Increase (i.e., an increase in the number of units sold) play similar roles in the two statements. Or alternatively, the statement should have said both J and I are OAs but J is more of an OA as he must have watched more television as a child than I did --- then make it parallel to the case where both Main Street and Corner Stores have Increases.

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I agree that answer should be A.

But I have one issue with the answer

As far as I have seen in OG,even LSAT questions,the order of premise and conclusion almost always remains the same as in the original argument.

The entire structure of answer choice A is jumbled up as compared to the question .

For eg the question says If A = B and B = C ,then A must be equal to C.

It seems weird to say that : A must be equal to C because A =B and B =C.

You may have arrived at the same conclusion but your way of deriving is totally different from the question

AND THE QUESTION CLEARLY ALSO INCLUDES THE WORD STRUCTURE.It does not just say " which of the following parallels the LOGIC of the premise"

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GMAT 1011 -

I certainly agree with what you say. It would be better if Answer Choice A had an all of nothing statement like the stimulus - "he is obese" "I am not obese" versus a "larger ad: in choice A." This is a very good point and should be taken into account in the next round of editing!

Rishab1988 -

I agree that most GMAT questions have the same order of premises and conclusion. In fact, if you look at all the strengthen and weaken questions the vast majority have the conclusion as the last part of the argument.

However, in order to see if people really understand the logic and not just the word order, parallel reasoning questions focus on the logical structure of the argument and not on the order of the premises and the conclusion.

The question stem for this question is "Which of the following most closely parallels the logical structure above?" The "logical structure" does not mean the order of the premises and the conclusion, but rather the way that they relate to each other.

So to quote the example in your post, "For eg the question says If A = B and B = C ,then A must be equal to C.

It seems weird to say that : A must be equal to C because A =B and B =C."


That is exactly parallel in logical structure and would be the perfect answer choice. As far as what is done in the OG and LSAT questions, first let me assure you that on the LSAT they rearrange the order of premises and conclusion all the time. It is one way that they can tell if someone really understands the argument or is just looking at the order. Second, even if the OG does not have an example where the order is rearranged it is better to understand the structure of the argument rather than just look for the order.

I have thought about it and when you say that the question stem clearly includes the word order as well as the logic, I have to say that I cannot think of any circumstance where this is true.

The truth is that parallel reasoning questions are rare anyway and the best reason to study them is to understand arguments so that you are better at all kinds of questions!

Thanks for the hard work guys!

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I,because of my very nature,do not like to take anything at face value and accept things as presented,so I had disagreement on that count.

But you cleared my doubts.

David thanks for a great ,and an unbiased input.

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Children--too much TV- results-obese as adults
Eg: Jacob-is obese-MUST-be bcoz of above reason-than me

Lets see Ans choices:
A. No comparison to above really
B. Similar to above with eg
C. Dont follow above
D. more in -ve...not exactly as above
E. Dont follow above

So, ans B?

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Hmm..the reason I didnt get the correct answer is due to 2 things:
1. I just tried to follow the 'structure' of question....meaning missed the 'logical' part!
2. Didnt tried to understand what is the conveyed meaning.

Correct ans is A.

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missed this one. between A and D went for D instead.

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rkanthilal wrote:
I'll go with A on this one.

P1: Studies show that children who watch too much television are more likely than others to become obese adults
P2: Jacob is an obese adult
P3: I am not obese
C1: Jacob must have watched more television as a child than I did

Notes on the Premises and Conclusion
1. P1 describes a causal relationship between two variables (the cause is television watching and the effect is obesity).
2. P2 describes an individual in terms of the “effect” described in P1 (obesity).
3. P3 describes another individual in terms of the “effect” described in P1 (obesity).
4. The conclusion compares the two individuals and makes an inference. It is interesting to note that P1 is predictive “If you watch more television as a child you are more likely to be obese as an adult.” The conclusion reverses this and makes an inference based on the characteristics described in P1. “Jacob is obese and I’m not, therefore Jacob must have watched more television as a child.” Compare this to a prediction, “Jacob and I are children. Jacob watches more television than I do therefore he is more likely to be obese when he grows up.”

Elements to Look For:
1. A premise with a causal relationship
2. A comparison between two entities in terms of the “effect” described in the causal relationship.
3. A conclusion that makes an inference and not a prediction.

(A) Correct
P1: A Sunday paper advertisement has been shown to increase the number of items sold
P2: The hardware store on Main Street sold “2X” items last week.
P3: The hardware store around the corner sold “X” items last week.
C1: The hardware store on Main Street must have had a bigger advertisement in the Sunday paper than the hardware store around the corner had.

I feel this answer is correct. It seems to have everything I want. First, a causal relationship “a Sunday paper advertisement (cause) leads to an increase in items sold (effect)”. Second, with a little reworking, we have two premises (P2 and P3) that describe two entities in terms of the “effect” described in the first premise. Lastly, a conclusion that makes an inference.

Additionally, at first “a bigger advertisement” seemed a little odd but it parallels Jacob watching “more television”.

(B) Incorrect
P1: Studies show that large dogs live shorter lives, on average, than small dogs do.
P2: Rex is a large dog
P3: Mustang is a small dog
C1: Rex might be expected to live a shorter life than Mustang

This answer was very tempting. It looks so good that it is suspicious. P1 even starts off the same as P1 in the main passage, “Studies show that…” The premises match up fairly well. However, P2 and P3 describe two entities (dogs) in terms of the cause in P1 (size of dog). The main passage described Jacob and "I" in terms of the effect (obesity).

Also, the conclusion makes a prediction. The conclusion in the main passage makes an inference. I would have preferred the conclusion to state something like, "Rex lived a considerably shorter life than Mustang, therefore he was most likely a large dog".

Of course it is already stated in the premises that Rex is a large dog. In order for this answer to work the premises would need to describe the dogs in terms of how long they lived. Then, based on the dog's life spans the conclusion would need to make an inference about the size of the dog.

(C) Incorrect
P1: The county superintendent stated that all schools would be canceled for the day if snowfall last night were greater than six inches
P2: The snowfall was only five inches
C1: We must be following the usual school schedule today.

This conclusion makes an inference. However, this passage doesn’t compare anything. We need an argument that compares two entities.

(D) Incorrect
P1: According to research, people with unusual musical talent do not achieve their true potential unless they are given formal lessons.
P2: Jesse has achieved his full musical potential without formal lessons
C1: Jesse must not have unusual musical talent.

This conclusion also makes an inference but doesn’t compare anything. We need an argument that compares two entities.

(E) Incorrect
P1: People who like vegetables also like fruits.
P2: Elizabeth does not like fruits.
C1: She must not like vegetables either.

Similar to (C) and (D) this conclusion makes an inference but it doesn’t compare anything. We need an argument that compares two entities.
A is surely the correct answer and well explained by Rkanthilal....u rock man... !!!

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