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Which of the following most logically completes the passage?

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Which of the following most logically completes the passage?

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Which of the following most logically completes the passage?

On the whole, scientists do their most creative work before age forty, a tendency that has been taken to show that aging carries with it a loss of creative capacity. An alternative explanation is that by age forty most scientists have worked in their field for fifteen or more years and that by then they have exhausted the opportunity for creative work in that field. Supporting this explanation is the finding that ________.

(A) the average age of recipients of scientific research grants is significantly greater than forty.

(B) a disproportionately large number of the scientists who produce highly creative work beyond age forty entered their field at an older age than is common.

(C) many scientists temper their own expectations of what they can achieve in their research work by their belief that their creativity will decline as they age.

(D) scientists who are older than forty tend to find more satisfaction in other activities, such as teaching and mentoring, than they do in pursuing their own research.

(E) there is a similar diminution of creativity with age in non-scientific fields, such as poetry and musical composition.

OA B

Source: GMAT Prep

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This question is a variant of one from the Official Guide that asked about boldface portions: https://www.beatthegmat.com/scientists-go-their-work-mostly-before-the-age-of-40-t149219.html#538772

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We want to support the explanation that being in a field for too long diminishes creativity, NOT that being too old in general diminishes creativity. We need a piece of information that connects to length of time in the field.

(A) the average age of recipients of scientific research grants is significantly greater than forty.
Receiving grants has no direct correlation to creativity, and no bearing on how long someone has been in the field. Irrelevant.

(B) a disproportionately large number of the scientists who produce highly creative work beyond age forty entered their field at an older age than is common.
Yes! This supports the idea by showing that those who haven't been in the field as long are still creative, and that aging does not affect everyone equally with regards to creativity.

(C) many scientists temper their own expectations of what they can achieve in their research work by their belief that their creativity will decline as they age.
This might give a 3rd explanation (belief in creativity declining v. creativity actually declining). But it does not actually support the explanation that being in a field too long diminishes creativity.

(D) scientists who are older than forty tend to find more satisfaction in other activities, such as teaching and mentoring, than they do in pursuing their own research.
Irrelevant. We want to explain why creative works seems to diminish. How people feel (satisfaction levels) does not necessarily correlate to what people do (their actual work).

(E) there is a similar diminution of creativity with age in non-scientific fields, such as poetry and musical composition.
We don't care about non-scientific fields. This gives us no reason to prefer explanation #2 over explanation #1.

The answer is B.

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Ceilidh Erickson
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EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


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