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CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 70

A survey was recently conducted among ferry passengers on the North Sea. Among the results was this: more of those who had taken anti-seasickness medication before their trip reported symptoms of seasickness than those who had not taken such medication. It is clear, then that despite claims by drug companies that clinical tests show the contrary, people would be better off not taking anti-seasickness medications.

Which one of the following, if true, would most weaken the conclusion above?

[A]. Given rough enough weather, most ferry passengers will have some symptoms of seasickness.
[B]. The clinical tests reported by the drug companies were conducted by the drug companies’ staffs.
[C]. People who do not take anti-seasickness medication are just as likely to respond to a survey on seasickness as people who do.
[D]. The seasickness symptoms of the people who took anti-seasickness medication would have been more severe had they not taken the medication.
[E]. People who have spent money on anti-seasickness medication are less likely to admit symptoms of seasickness than those who have not.
Answer: D

A survey of ferry passengers came up with startling results: Symptoms of seasickness were more common among those who took anti-seasickness medication than among those who didn’t. Based on this, the author concludes that people would be better off not taking antiseasickness drugs. (D), holding that the people who took the drugs would have experienced even harsher symptoms without them, weakens this conclusion by showing that anti-seasickness drugs actually do some good.

(A) First, there’s no indication that the weather was rough on this passage. Second, (A) does nothing to explain the curious fact that those who took the medication were disproportionately afflicted with seasickness.

(B) is simply irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who conducted the tests; what’s important are the results. (One may argue that who conducted the tests is relevant in some way to the results, but one would have to take this reasoning a number of steps further to actually show how this weakens the stated conclusion.)

(C) works as a mild strengthener; it suggests that the survey’s sample was representative, and therefore supports the accuracy of the results gathered by the survey.

(E) If people who spend money on anti-seasickness drugs are less likely to report symptoms of seasickness, then it’s probable that even more people who took the drugs suffered from seasickness than we had previously thought. This can only strengthen the argument.

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