A recent study confirms that nutritious breakfasts make workers more productive. For one month, workers at Plant A re...

Farbod on August 13, 2013

Help between two choices

I narrowed it down to either a or c but decided to go with c and don't really understand why it can't be the right answer choice.

8 Replies

Melody on August 14, 2013

(A) is CORRECT because it takes away the possibility of the workers in plant B eating a nutritious breakfast regardless of the fact that they were not provided one for free. If they had, then the conclusion of the argument would not stand.

(C) is incorrect because we are not discussing a comparison between Plant A and Plant B. We just want to see an increase in productivity once a nutritious breakfast is eaten. Therefore, it does not matter whether or not they started on equal footing.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

Lsatmax on September 15, 2013

I don't understand that response. Introducing a plant B breakfast as ineffective because they didn't produce more would only weaken the conclusion that breakfast increases productivity.

I answered C because the absence of breakfast identified equal levels of productivity.

Mehran on September 16, 2013

This is a cause and effect argument. The observed effect that the author is trying to explain to us is that for one month the productivity of Plant A's workers increased, while that of Plant B's workers did not. His proposed cause is a nutritious breakfast.

(C) is irrelevant because it doesn't help us explain why we saw a change over this one month period. Why did we see the productivity of Plant A's workers increase, while Plant B's workers did not? The fact that prior to this one month period, the workers at these plants were equally productive, does not strengthen this argument because it does not explain what caused this change.

(A) on the other hand, removes the proposed cause from Plant B's workers, thereby strengthening the argument that it was the nutritious breakfast consumed by Plant A's workers (i.e. no cause, no effect).

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Derek on August 26, 2014

I feel that answer choice C does strengthen the argument though, by eliminating the variable of previous productivity. How do we not know if plant A had always been more productive than plant B, by giving us the previous equality the reader can determine that the new uncommon variable 'the free breakfast to plant A' did in fact cause the new outcome. Even if some plant B workers were getting a nutritious breakfast during the trial we know ALL Plant A workers were getting the free one, and that still seems to support the productive outcome.

Melody on September 3, 2014

We are not comparing Plant A to Plant B, which is why it is irrelevant whether or not they were on equal footing. We want to see whether a nutritious breakfast causes more productivity.

Think about it this way: Let's say that the month before the study, Plant A and Plant B both had productivity levels of zero. Then Plant A received free nutritious breakfasts every day before work, while workers in Plant B did not (i.e. the study was conducted). The result was that the productivity of Plant A's workers increased to 5, while that of Plant B's workers did not increase, staying at zero.

Does this help us confirm that a nutritious breakfast made workers more productive? No. We do not know whether or not Plant B received a nutritious breakfast. We only know that Plant A received a free nutritious breakfast every day before work.

Now think about this scenario: The month before the study, Plant A has a productivity of 5 and Plant B has a productivity level of 10. After the study, Plant A has a productivity level of 7 and Plant B has a productivity level of 10.

Plant A and Plant B did not start out equally productive, but the fact still stands that Plant A increased its productivity level while Plant B's level was stagnant. Does THIS scenario help us confirm that a nutritious breakfast made workers more productive? No. We still do not know whether or not Plant B received a nutritious breakfast. We only know that Plant A received a free nutritious breakfast every day before work.

Thus, knowing whether Plant A or Plant B started out on equal footing is irrelevant.

Hope that clears things up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Jacob on October 8, 2017

I thought C was correct because it rules out the possibility that workers in Plant A were already good workers and it was the breakfast that made them work harder?

jing jing on May 27 at 03:14AM

Hi I thought A was incorrect because it used the word few which does not indicate how many in Plant B received nutritious breakfast compared to plant A. And Plant A, despite having a free nutritious breakfast, could still make it few people having nutritious breakfast because not everybody would take up on the free off. In that case, both plant B and A would eat the same amount of few nutritious breakfast, making them at equal footing. Sorry am I overthinking this question? Thanks

Ben on May 31 at 02:58AM

Hi Jing Jing!

We can think of few as most do not. That's one way to conceptualize it. The idea behind this answer choice is that by saying few of the workers at B consumed these nutritious breakfasts, this bolsters the idea that nutritious breakfast causes increased productivity. As Mehran said above, it shows no cause, no effect.

The other point that you mention about the workers at plant A not taking up the free offer. I realize we always say not to assume outside things, however, there needs to be some baseline level of trust in the argument. If the study is testing two groups, one of which consumes the breakfast and the other which doesn't. We should take it for granted that the group which consumes it, actually eats the breakfasts they receive. If you think about it, bringing forth the idea that they would choose to eat their own breakfasts rather than those provided would be adding in an outside assumption.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.