QUESTION TEXT: Psychologist: Doctors should never prescribe sedatives for…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning – Exception
CONCLUSION: Doctors should never provide sedatives for people with insomnia.
REASONING: Most cases of insomnia that psychologists treat are known to be caused by psychological stress. Therefore insomniacs don’t need drugs. They need psychotherapy to get rid of their stress.
ANALYSIS: There are a lot of errors. I’ll make a list:
1. The psychologist assumes that cases of insomnia treated by psychologists are similar to cases of insomnia treated by doctors.
2. The psychologist assumes that no patients need drugs just because most patients do not need drugs.
3. The psychologist assumes that drugs will not help just because psychotherapy can help. It’s possible for there to be multiple solutions to any problem.
4. It’s also possible that psychotherapy won’t work for everyone.
That’s just off the top of my head. I find it useful to make such a list (mentally) on an exception question, before looking at the answers. You can go through them much faster.
If you don’t get them all, that’s fine. Even thinking of two in advance will speed you up.
- CORRECT. This gets it backwards. The psychologist said stress caused insomnia. And that isn’t a reasoning error if stress really is the cause.
- This is error number two. Some cases of insomnia might not be caused by stress.
- This is error number four. The psychologist hasn’t shown that psychotherapy will always be sufficient.
- This is error number three. Both drugs and psychotherapy might be useful.
- This is error number one. People might see a psychologist for stress caused insomnia and they might see a doctor for insomnia that has some other cause.
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