CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 26

Advertisers are often criticized for their unscrupulous manipulation of people's tastes and wants. There is evidence, however, that some advertisers are motivated by moral as well as financial considerations. A particular publication decided to change its image from being a family newspaper to concentrating on sex and violence, thus appealing to a different readership. Some advertisers withdrew their advertisements from the publication, and this must have been because they morally disapproved of publishing salacious material.

Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the argument?

[A]. The advertisers switched their advertisements to other family newspapers.
[B]. Some advertisers switched from family newspapers to advertise in the changed publication.
[C]. The advertisers expected their product sales to increase if they stayed with the changed publication, but to decrease if they withdrew.
[D]. People who generally read family newspapers are not likely to buy newspapers that concentrate on sex and violence.
[E]. It was expected that the changed publication would appeal principally to those in a different income group.
Answer: C

Responding to the criticism of advertisers, the author argues that some of them are influenced by morals as well as profit. To support her position, the author cites the case of a publication that switched from a family orientation to a concentration on sex and violence. In response, some advertisers withdrew their ads. The author concludes that they must have withdrawn their ads because of their moral disapproval, but is that necessarily so? Maybe they thought that advertising in the new “salacious” magazine would hurt them financially. Maybe the advertisers’ decisions had nothing to do with moral considerations, as the author posits; maybe, as always, it’s the Almighty Dollar that rules. This line of reasoning would weaken the author’s argument, and the cynical among us may have been thinking just this as we read through the stimulus.

However, we’re asked to strengthen, not weaken the argument, and one way to do that is to shore up the potential weakness just uncovered, the possibility that financial considerations outweighed moral ones in the advertisers’ decision. The author assumes that this is not so, so essentially we’re attempting to strengthen the argument by bolstering the author’s central assumption. (C) does just that: if the advertisers who left the publication would have increased their sales had they stayed, then they couldn’t have left solely for financial considerations; something else must have played a role. Thus, ruling out money as the sole consideration in effect strengthens the author’s argument that the advertisers left on moral grounds.

(A) If advertisers switched to other family newspapers, then we know that they prefer family newspapers, but we don’t know why. They might think that advertising in family newspapers will lead to more sales.

(B) is unrelated to the evidence, which concerns the advertisers that switched from the publication, not to the publication.

(D) and (E) are out of the scope as well: the issue is the motivation of the advertisers, not the motivation of the publishers, or the preferences of readers of family newspapers.

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