QUESTION TEXT: In an experiment, ten people were asked to…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: Chocolate reduces our ability to taste coffee.
REASONING: 10 people were given coffee. Five of them were given chocolate first. The ones who didn’t have chocolate tasted difference in the coffee. The ones who did taste chocolate couldn’t taste difference in the coffee.
ANALYSIS: This is a very weak argument. The sample size is very small. Five people is not enough of a sample to draw any conclusion.
The right answer indirectly points this out by using a principle of science: repetition. If a result is valid, we should be able to repeat an experiment and get the same result. In this case, researchers repeated the experiment and got a different result. Likely because the original sample was too small.
- Random assignment to groups is a good thing. This strengthens the argument.
- If you can repeat an experiment and get the same result, that suggests the result is valid. This strengthens the argument.
- This is just a random fact about how coffee and chocolate are consumed. This tells us nothing about whether chocolate interferes with our ability to taste chocolate.
- CORRECT. This suggests that the five people who couldn’t taste differences simply don’t taste differences in coffee under any circumstances.
With chocolate, they tasted no difference. Now, without chocolate, they still taste no difference.
The likely explanation is that five people is too small a sample size to judge anything.
- The main point is that the group did taste differences. It doesn’t really matter how large the difference is. The other group tasted absolutely no difference.
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Graeme teaches how to break down arguments, quickly