The odds of winning any major lottery jackpot are extremely slight. However, the very few people who do win major jac...

Claire on January 22 at 08:25PM

Help

Why wouldn't A be the right answer?

1 Reply

Ravi on January 22 at 08:58PM

@claire_crites,

Great question. The stimulus tells us that the odds of winning any
major lottery jackpot are extremely slight. We're also told that the
very few people who do win major jackpots receive a great deal of
attention from the media.

The stimulus then says since most people come to have at least some
awareness of events that receive extensive media coverage, it's likely
that many people greatly overestimate the odds of their winning a
major jackpot.

This is a strengthen with a necessary premise question. We're looking
for an answer choice that must be true if the argument is to stand a
chance. We can use the negation test in the answers to see if the
argument could still be intact after negating each answer choice. If
the negation doesn't wreck the argument, then that's not the answer
choice.

The reason that the negation test works is because it's testing
whether the statement in question is essential to the argument.

(A) is incorrect because its negation, most people who overestimate
the likelihood of winning a major jackpot DO NOT DO SO at least in
part because media coverage of other people who have won major
jackpots downplays the odds against winning such a jackpot, doesn't
wreck the argument. The argument's conclusion, that many people
greatly overestimate the odds of their winning a major jackpot, is
still consistent with the negation of (A) because the negation applies
to MOST people, which leaves room for some (i.e., many), which is
what's in the conclusion.

(B) is incorrect because its negation doesn't wreck the argument. If
there are tons of people other than those who win major jackpots who
receive a great deal of attention from the media, the argument is not
broken.

(C) is incorrect because its negation, if it were not for media
attention, most people who purchase lottery tickets would overestimate
their chances of winning a jackpot, does not make the argument fall
apart. This negation could still be consistent with the argument's
conclusion that many people greatly overestimate the odds of their
winning a major jackpot, so it's out.

(D) is correct; it's negation, that becoming aware of individuals who
have won a major jackpot DOES NOT LEAD any people to incorrectly
overestimate their own chances of winning a jackpot, would make the
argument fall apart. The argument's conclusion, that many people
greatly overestimate the odds of their winning a major jackpot, is
supported by the premise that most people come to have at least some
awareness of events that receive extensive media coverage, is wrecked
if the negation of (D) is true because becoming aware of people who
win the lottery wouldn't lead them to overestimate their odds of
winning, thereby wrecking the argument in the stimulus. (D) is our
choice.

(E) is incorrect because its negation, that at least some people who
are heavily influenced by the media do believe that the odds of their
winning a major jackpot are significant, is perfectly consistent with
the conclusion of the stimulus. We can get rid of this choice.

Does this help? Let us know if you have any more questions!