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CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 79

In an experiment, two-year-old boys and their fathers made pie dough together using rolling pins and other utensils. Each father-son pair used a rolling pin that was distinctively different from those used by the other father-son pairs, and each father repeated the phrase "rolling pin" each time his son used it. But when the children were asked to identify all of the rolling pins among a group of kitchen utensils that included several rolling pins, each child picked only the one that he had used.

Which one of the following inferences is most supported by the information above?

[A]. The children did not grasp the function of rolling pin
[B]. No two children understood the name "rolling pin" to apply to the same object
[C]. The children understood that all rolling pins have the same general shape
[D]. Each child was able to identify correctly only the utensils that he had used
[E]. The children were not able to distinguish the rolling pins they used from other rolling pins
Answer: B

The upshot of this interesting experiment is that each child associated the term “rolling pin” with only the exact object he had previously encountered, not with a category of objects that all serve the same purpose. So what can we infer from this? Since each boy only identified the rolling pin he and his father had used, and since all the rolling pins are different, we can infer (B): that no two boys associated the name “rolling pin” with the same object.

(A) There’s a subtle scope shift happening here; the children are asked to identify the pins, not explain how they’re used. The mere fact that they couldn’t extend the definition of rolling pin to other pins doesn’t mean they didn’t understand the function of the pin they did identify.

(C), if anything, runs counter to the stimulus, since the children did not seem to understand that the term “rolling pin” can refer to a category of objects. If (C) were true, chances are the boys would have been able to identify the other rolling pins in the room.

(D) Mind the scope! The conclusion deals only with rolling pins, so we have no right to extend this conclusion to include all the utensils used in the experiment.

(E) contradicts the stimulus. The children certainly could distinguish their own rolling pins from the others; otherwise, how could each child pick out from the rest of the rolling pins only the one he and his father had used?

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