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CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 59

The mind and the immune system have been shown to be intimately linked, and scientists are consistently finding that doing good deeds benefits one’s immune system. The bone marrow and spleen, which produce the white blood cells needed to fight infection, are both connected by neural pathways to the brain. Recent research has shown that the activity of these white blood cells is stimulated by beneficial chemicals produced by the brain as a result of magnanimous behavior.

The statements above, if true, support the view that

[A]. good deeds must be based on unselfish motives
[B]. lack of magnanimity is the cause of most serious illnesses
[C]. magnanimous behavior can be regulated by the presence or absence of certain chemicals in the brain
[D]. magnanimity is beneficial to one’s own interests
[E]. the number of white blood cells will increase radically if behavior is consistently magnanimous
Answer: D

Good deeds are beneficial to the immune system of the person who does them. White blood cells are needed to fight infection, and magnanimous behavior causes the brain to produce chemicals that stimulate and aid the activity of these white blood cells. We are therefore safe in inferring that magnanimous behavior is beneficial to one’s own interests.

(A) The stimulus says nothing about what constitutes a good deed, or what sort of motives are required for a deed to be truly “good.”

(B) While it’s claimed that magnanimous behavior helps the immune system, we can hardly say that lack of magnanimity actually causes most serious illnesses.

(C) is way off. Magnanimity produces the chemicals; not the other way around.

(E)’s a distortion—the stimulus said only that magnanimity will stimulate the activity of white blood cells, so we can’t infer that it will produce new ones.

Beware of choices with extreme or radical language that doesn’t fit the tone of the stimulus. Distortions, or extreme sounding choices are some of the most common wrong answers.

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