QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Snoring can damage your throat.
REASONING: There’s a correlation between snoring and throat damage.
ANALYSIS: Correlations can’t prove anything. Whenever there’s a correlation, there are four possibilities:
- Snoring causes throat damage.
- Throat damage causes snoring.
- A third factor causes both.
- It’s a coincidence.
If an argument uses a correlation to prove causation, you can strengthen the argument by eliminating one of the other possibilities.
Throat surgery is mentioned in a couple of answers. But it’s irrelevant. The conclusion is about snoring in the general population, not just those who had surgery. Surgery is only mentioned because it’s what let us discover abnormalities.
- This weakens the argument by showing that the study’s data may be flawed.
- It doesn’t matter why patients had surgery. Surgery is just how we established there was throat damage.
- This is a common wrong answer. Studies don’t need to use subjects of the same age/weight etc. The study is about snoring in the general population, so the argument is stronger if the study used subjects from the general population.
- Throat surgery doesn’t matter. Throat surgery is the reason we discovered abnormalities, but the argument is about the abnormalities in the whole population, even those who don’t have surgery.
- CORRECT. This answer eliminates the second possibility from my list above. This strengthens the conclusion that the first possibility is correct.
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