QUESTION TEXT: Psychology researchers observed that parents feel emotion…
QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Researchers believe that emotion affects the sound of singing.
REASONING: Parents feel emotion when singing to their infant children. Researchers recorded the parents singing to their children, and singing with no children present. The parents were told to make the singing as similar as possible. The recordings were shown to psychologists, who were able to figure out, 80% of the time, which recordings had an infant present.
ANALYSIS: In any scientific experiment, it’s important to control for a variety of factors. Here, it’s clear that there really was a difference between the two recordings. The question is: was it emotion, or something else?
It’s easy to imagine, for example, that the parents sounded different because they were singing to someone. Even if you try to make both renditions identical, you will possibly produce different sounds when singing to a human vs. when singing to a wall.
We can strengthen the argument either by eliminating other factors, or by directly providing a reason that emotion was responsible.
- So? In the control recordings, the parents weren’t singing to other infants. So, this doesn’t address the situation compared in the experiment.
Also, “more” is a tricky answer on strengthen questions. It could be 0.01% more, or 80% more. You have to interpret “more” at its least useful and see if it still affects the argument.
- Like “more”, “some” is a useless answer on most strengthen questions. This could mean that 1 out of 10000 parents in the study realized they were being recorded. That affects nothing.
- This is a trap answer. I picked this myself, actually. There are at least two big problems with this answer:
1. This says “displayed” little emotion. The parents might have “felt” emotion, but not displayed it. (The evidence in the stimulus is that parents felt emotion when singing to infants.
2. This doesn’t actually show that emotion is the cause of the difference in the recordings sound. It would only help establish a correlation. i.e. the difference might be caused by the fact that the parents were singing to a human. The presence of emotion was a coincidental correlation.
- CORRECT. This provides a mechanism by which emotion can cause changes in sound, even if parents are trying to make sounds identical.
- It doesn’t matter what people believed about their singing. We only care whether their singing was affected. The LSAT makes a strict separation between belief and fact.
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