One–year–olds ordinarily prefer the taste of sweet food to that of salty food. Yet if one feeds a one–year–old salty ...

DavidClimber on January 9, 2020

Still confused

I have been confused by the answer choices A and B. I know that A is the correct answer choice here, but why would B is a tempting answer? Please help.

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Annie on January 9, 2020

Hi @DavidClimber,

This question is asking you to find the answer choice that is an assumption required by the argument. This essentially means you're looking for the answer choice which is a premise missing in the argument. Here's a breakdown:

Premise 1: 1 year olds generally prefer sweet to salty food.
Premise 2: But, over a year, if you feed a 1 year old salty food rather than sweet they will learn to like it and choose it over sweet food.
Premise 3: ??
Conclusion: Therefore, a young child's taste preferences can be affected by the type of food they are exposed to.

Then, see if you can spot any gaps in the argument before turning to the answer choices. I spot one which is that the conclusion is assuming that a "young child" wouldn't like salty foods on their own. For instance, maybe all 2 year olds develop a taste for salty foods naturally, with no influence from the food they've been exposed to.

(A) is correct because it spots this gap. If you negate (A) you would get that 2 year olds do naturally prefer salty foods. If this was true, the argument would fall apart. Therefore, this answer choice is correct.

(B) is incorrect because it doesn't have to be true for the conclusion to hold. If you negate (B) you get the idea that a child's taste preferences do not usually change between 1 and 2. This does not destroy the argument because we are actually assuming just this, that there are no natural changes in a child's tastes and that they need to be changed by exposing the child to different foods.