QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Experiencing an earthquake can cause people to dream about earthquakes.
REASONING: Over a six month period, researchers tracked the dreams of students in Ontario and in California. At the three month mark the Californians lived through an earthquake. During the three months afterwards, half of the Californians dreamed of earthquakes. Practically none of the Ontarians dreamed about earthquakes.
ANALYSIS: This argument doesn’t tell us if the Californians dreamed about earthquakes before the earthquake. California gets a lot more earthquakes than Ontario. Maybe people in California often have earthquake dreams even if there was no recent earthquake and they’ve never lived through one.
- CORRECT. This strengthens things quite a bit. It indicates that the earthquake caused the earthquake dreams among the Californians.
- This wouldn’t explain why the Californians dreamt about earthquakes specifically.
- This is sort of vague. How many is “many”? It could be as low as 10%. And how big was the earthquake? Maybe they did not know they experienced one. The earthquake that occurred during the study was “major.” This answer is tempting but it isn’t nearly as strong as A.
- This doesn’t really affect anything. We want to know whether or not earthquakes can cause earthquake dreams.
- This slightly weakens the argument. It indicates that simply hearing about an earthquake could cause you to dream about them. You wouldn’t have to live through one.
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