In a study of patients who enrolled at a sleep clinic because of insomnia, those who inhaled the scent of peppermint ...

Jessica on January 22, 2019

Why is

B the correct answer?


Jacob on January 23, 2019

I’m happy to help. We are looking for the answer that, if true, most seriously weakens the argument. In order to find this answer, let’s first understand what the argument is, and whether it might have any potential flaws.

We learn that in an insomnia study, those who inhale peppermint had a harder time falling asleep than those who inhaled bitter orange. Then we get another premise: it is known that inhaling bitter orange does not help people fall asleep more easily. And then we get a conclusion: this study shows that inhaling peppermint makes insomnia WORSE.

So what weakens that argument? Answer B states: the people who inhaled orange were, on average, suffering from milder insomnia than the people who inhaled peppermint. Ah ha! We now have information that shifts our baselines: what if now, the people who inhaled peppermint had a harder time falling asleep not because of the peppermint, but because they had worse insomnia! That weakens the conclusion that inhaling peppermint makes insomnia worse — the study’s effect could have all been based on the relative differences between the two subject groups.

I hope that helps! Please let us know if you have further questions.

Jessica on January 31, 2019

Thank you!

Ravi on January 31, 2019

@Jessica-Killeen, happy to see it helped!

Anthony on September 15, 2020

Your explanations make sense, It's just difficult making these connections. The answer isn't obviously going to be noticeable right off the bat but making that "connection" is something I struggle with and is frustrating sometimes. In the explanations they make sense but when you're by yourself trying to make this connection it doesn't seem so noticeable right off the bat. I'm just trying to figure out on how I can improve that?