Researchers gave 100 first–graders after–school lessons in handwriting. They found that those whose composition skill...

Kath on October 24 at 04:51PM

Difficult question about causation

It seems that this question stresses an atypical example of how to strengthen a causation. Could you explain how C strengthens the argument? Could you tell me the difference between B and E? I was a little confused because they both use the “show”, it seems that it is a correlation indicator.

5 Replies

Ben on October 24 at 07:34PM

Hi @Kath, thanks for the question!

First let's talk about the incorrect answer choices, B and E.

Answer choice B doesn't show that writing automatically frees up mental resources. If anything it is stating that writing automatically is correlated with a greater propensity for composition.

Answer choice E reverses the cause and effect by showing that the composition skills led to improvement in writing automatically.

The correct answer choice C, provides the evidence we needed for the conclusion. It states that greater improvement in writing automatically is correlated with greater improvement in composition. This is a direct link to the conclusion drawn, which states that it is due to some benefit of writing automatically that composition is then improved.

The stimulus on its own draws this conclusion by using the reverse, that those with the greatest improvement in composition actually improved writing letters automatically. The way in which the evidence is presented is important.

Hope this helps!

Avery on July 23 at 09:19PM

Can you explain how the reverse makes it a correct answer? I was stuck between C and D and chose D because C was just a reversal and not a negation. Thank you!

Avery on July 23 at 09:19PM

Can you explain how the reverse makes it a correct answer? I was stuck between C and D and chose D because C was just a reversal and not a negation. Thank you!

Avery on July 23 at 09:19PM

Can you explain how the reverse makes it a correct answer? I was stuck between C and D and chose D because C was just a reversal and not a negation. Thank you!

Shunhe on July 27 at 10:55PM

Hi @Ame15,

Thanks for the question! So let’s take a look at the stimulus here. We’re told that a bunch of first-graders got handwriting lessons. And those whose composition skills had improved the most had learned to write letters the most automatically. So this is supposed to suggest that producing characters more automatically frees up mental resources for other activities; this last sentence is the conclusion here.

Well, we’re being asked to strengthen this argument. Now let’s take a look at (C), which tells us that the first-graders who showed greater improvement in their ability to write letters automatically also generally showed greater improvement in their composition skills. If this is true, then there’s a positive correlation between the two, which suggests that the automatic letter writing wasn’t just there earlier. (D) is wrong because the conclusion isn’t about first graders in general, it’s about the relationship between composition skills and writing letters automatically.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.