Poor nutrition is at the root of the violent behavior of many young offenders. Researchers observed that in a certai...

Timur on July 21, 2015

Clarification

The argument establishes that a diet high in nutrition is the cause for an improvement in behavior, the effect. As a general rule, is it acceptable to strengthen an argument the way (E) does, by demonstrating without the cause (a diet low in nutrients) there is no effect (no improvement in behavior). If the argument were to establish that sunshine leads to healthy plants, and if it is true that cloudy weather (no sunshine) does not lead to healthy plants, is the argument strengthened?

1 Reply

Melody on July 28, 2015

Okay so what answer choice (E) is doing is trying to show that there was no variable "z" that caused the effect.

Remember, when we have a Cause & Effect Strengthen Questions, the way you can strengthen the cause and effect relationship (X causes Y) is to either show that (1) X does, in fact, cause Y, (2) show that Y is not causing X, or (3) show that third variable Z is not causing Y or X and Y.

This is what answer choice (E) is doing: it is confirming that it wasn't some other thing in the prison that caused the improvement in behavior, i.e. conditions were fixed in the prison. In this way, we are eliminating other factors that could have had an effect, which strengthens the argument that it was the improvement in food that caused the better behavior.

In your example about sunshine and plants, showing that cloudy weather does not lead to healthy plants helps us show that it wasn't some third factor, i.e. the soil was very nutritious, that brought about healthy plants.

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