The local radio station will not win the regional ratings race this year. In the past ten years the station has never...

Nicolette on August 25, 2014

question

Can you please explain the difference between choice B and D?

4 Replies

Melody on September 3, 2014

The conclusion of this argument is: "The local radio station will not win the regional ratings race this year."

Why? "In the past ten years the station has never finished better than fifth place in the ratings." The station's manager has also not responded to its dismal ratings by switching up the music or any of the radio personnel, even though the competition values responding to changing tastes in music and recruiting top radio personalities.

What is the issue here? The reasoning of the argument has a temporal flaw in it. It reasons that because an event has continued to happen in the past, it will continue to do so now.

Answer choice (B) states: "A fair coin was fairly flipped six times and was heads every time. The next flip will probably be heads too."

The issue with (B) is that a fair coin toss is a statistical occurrence--it is a random event. It is not the same as an event that depends on other factors such as high ratings gained through catering to the musical format of changing tastes in music and "aggressively" recruiting the region's top radio personalities.

Answer choice (D) states: "Recently stock prices have always been lower on Mondays. Therefore they will be lower this coming Monday too."

Stock prices, like winning the regional ratings race, are not a random event. Stock prices depend on many other factors. Answer choice (D) states that since stock prices have always been lower in the past (i.e. on Mondays), they will continue to be lower on Mondays.

Thus, answer choice (D) has the same reasoning as that in the argument.

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

Hannah on May 16, 2018

I didn't choose (D) because of the word "recently" - the question refers to "the past ten years." I chose (B) instead- although I understand it relates more to statistics than precedent (as per the explanation above) - I thought it made more sense than (D). Could someone please clarify? Thanks!

Christopher on May 16, 2018

The main difference between (B) and the statements in the question is that (B) depends entirely on chance, while the question suggests a number of influencing factors that would preclude the radio station from winning. (D) deals with stock prices, which are not based on chance. There is a body of knowledge that can be examined to predict stock fluctuation, even if it's not perfect. This makes (D) the most analogous argument to the question.

As an aside, the question's argument doesn't rule out that consumer tastes may eventually shift to coincide with the radio station's format for a year, and it's possible they could win. Similarly, something could influence stocks to go up on Monday, but most predictors would indicate the opposite. This doesn't deal explicitly with the logical form but gives a bit more context to the logical analogy.

Hannah on May 16, 2018

Super helpful!