In one study of a particular plant species, 70 percent of the plants studied were reported as having patterned stems....

Derek on August 28, 2014

Why Not A

I do not understand why answer A would not be the best choice.

3 Replies

Melody on September 8, 2014

We know that in an initial study of a particular plant species 70% of the plants studied were reported to have patterned stems. But, in a subsequent study, which covered the same geographical area, only 40% of the plants of that species were reported to have patterned stems.

We must find the answer choice that solves the discrepancy.

Answer choice (A) states: "The first study was carried out at the time of year when plants of the species are at their most populous."

What do we know about plants being more populous? We have been given no information on what occurs when these specific plants are more densely populated. Thus, there is no way we can infer that just because the plants are more populous, there would be more patterned stems. Remember, the information given to us in our stimulus creates the boundaries of our knowledge for each question. If we have not been given information about the plants being more populous, then we cannot infer anything else.

Answer choice (D) states: "The first study used a broader definition of 'patterned.'"

If the first study used a broader definition of "patterned," then it would encompass more plants. The broader the definition, the more chance that more plants will fall into the category of having patterned stems. So, if the second study had a more narrow definition of patterned stems, fewer plants would fall into this category.

Thus, this would explain why the second study only resulted in 40% patterned stems while the first study resulted in 70%.

Hope that was helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

on July 22, 2018

I understand why the answer choice might be D, but the idea that this test basis answers on the boundaries of knowledge we are granted is often not true. I cant explain how many times Ive come across a question where the answer is related to some subjective form of arbitrary inference.

Mehran on July 23, 2018

Hi again, @mws7129. As we have explained to you on another thread, the problem is that you are thinking about Logical Reasoning questions too narrowly. Not every Logical Reasoning question is a Must Be True / Cannot Be True question that requires you to rigidly adhere to the information presented in the stimulus. There are many other kinds of Logical Reasoning questions, some of which ask you to look beyond the information presented in the stimulus and to select an answer choice that would strengthen or weaken the stimulus. Or, as is the case here, you may encounter a Paradox question, which asks you to select the answer choice that, *if true*, would resolve a discrepancy set forth in the stimulus.