Bardis: Extensive research shows that television advertisements affect the buying habits of consumers. Some people c...

Kim on November 3, 2014

Please Explain

Please explain correct answer...

Replies

Melody on November 21, 2014

Bardis's conclusion is that "we can safely conclude that violent television imagery does not cause violence."

Why? We know that extensive research has shown that television advertisements affect the buying habits of consumers. Some people conclude from these results that violent television imagery can, therefore, cause violent behavior.

However, Bardis points out a difference between TV advertisements and violent television imagery: "the effectiveness of television advertisements could be a result of those televised images being specifically designed to later buying habits, whereas television violence is not designed to cause violent behavior."

So Bardis's method of reasoning is that on the basis of one issue in the argument that violent television images can cause violent behavior (the issue being that these violent images were not--unlike television advertisements--designed to alter one's behavior), the entire argument is false. However, this is not necessarily sufficient evidence to disprove a claim.

This is exactly what answer choice (D) states: "concludes that a claim is false on the basis of one purported fault in an argument in favor of that claim."

Bardis is concluding that a claim is false, i.e. that violent television imagery does not cause violence, on the basis of one purported fault in an argument in favor of that claim, i.e. that the effectiveness of television advertisements could be a result of those televised images being specifically designed to alter buying habits--whereas television violence is not designed to cause violent behavior.

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

Shiyi on February 3, 2019

Why are the other answer choices wrong?

Ravi on February 5, 2019

@Shiyi-Zhang,

Happy to help.

(A) says, "relies on an illegitimate inference from the fact that
advertisement can change behavior to the claim that advertisements can
cause violent behavior."

This answer choice is similar to the flaw that "some people" (from the
second sentence) make in their argument, but Bardis is not arguing
that the advertisements are causing violence. Therefore, this answer
choice is out.

(B) says, "fails to distinguish a type of behavior from a type of
stimulus that may or may not affect behavior."

In the argument, we do not have any confusion between type of stimulus
and behavior. Bardis' argument is about advertisements and TV and
whether or not they have an effect on behavior. We can eliminate (B).

(C) says, "undermines its own position by questioning the persuasive
power of television advertising."

Bardis is not questioning that commercials can affect behavior. Both
Bardis and the "some people" he references in the second sentence are
in agreement that advertisements/commercials affect behavior. We can
eliminate (C).

(E) says, "fails to consider the possibility that the argument it
disputes is intended to address a separate issue."

In the argument, there is no separate issue. Both Bardis and "some
people" agree that the issue is whether or not violent television
imagery causes violence. The disagreement is not about the issue, it's
about the answer to the issue (Bardis doesn't think that violent TV
causes violence, but "some people" do think it causes violence). (E)
is descriptively inaccurate, so we can get rid of it.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!

Matthew on October 6 at 03:56PM

Still confused regarding the rejection of B. Does Bardis' explanation not falsely equate a behavior (ie, design/intent) with a stimulus (ie, presence of images/violence)?

Ravi on February 5 at 11:27AM

@Matthew-Rohrback, the issue is that there are two stimuli present in the argument (ads and television), and B is only mentioning one stimulus, so it's not factoring in that there are multiple stimuli discussed.

Aneesh on June 5 at 11:39AM

@Ravi

Isn't (D) excessively broad?

(D) "concludes that a claim is false on the basis of one purported fault in an argument in favor of that claim"

Couldn't this kind of language be used for pretty much every question in which we have to identify a flaw for a weaken statement?

^Asking this question only for my understanding of how questions are framed by the test makers.

Emil on June 7 at 11:36PM

Hi AneeshU,

While the language of (D) is general (that is, it references the argument but does not reference the specific items in the argument by name such as TV ads and violence), I don't think that it is broad. Rather, it refers to a specific flaw in the argument, that the author rejects a conclusion on the grounds that an argument for the conclusion is flawed.

The test will often use language that is general, but refers to specific items/points/arguments in the passage.

Aneesh on June 8 at 08:02AM

Thanks, Emil.

Just wanted to clear something else up with respect to Ravi's explanation -

Why do we have to refer to both ads and television in the answer?

Here's how I thought of the answer:

D: fails to distinguish a type of behavior (violent behavior) from a type of stimulus (violent imagery) that may or may not affect behavior

Is there anything wrong with the references I've made to behavior and stimulus above? If not, it would seem that the criticism that this option doesn't factor in multiple stimuli would not be applicable.

In addition, the 'intent' which is mentioned in the question seems to be a bit of a non sequitur since common sense tells us that intention does not guarantee effect, which is why I thought that would be addressed in the correct answer.

Could you please shed some light on why this approach is wrong?

Emil on June 10 at 07:56PM


Hi AneeshU,

I think that Ravi's point was only in the context of (B). B states that the argument is flawed because it fails to distinguish behavior from a stimulus that causes it. However, this misdescribes the argument. There are two stimuli, not one, so if an answer choice claims that there is only one, that answer choice is not correct.

I think your understanding of what B was referring to is correct, but the argument simply doesn't do what B says. The author never confuses violent behavior for violent imagery, and in fact recognizes that those are different things by arguing that one could possibly be a cause of the other.

We do not have to mention every part of the argument in a correct answer choice, as long as it describes a reason why the stimulus was flawed- which D does.

Aneesh on June 13 at 06:26AM

Gotcha. Thanks.