In this article, we’ll look at the solution to this Official Guide (OG) question CR46521.01 – “City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should…” on critical reasoning:
City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should be banned for light pollution since they are much too bright.
Outdoor advertising spokesperson: No, that’s not true. Testing with a sophisticated light meter shows that at night they throw off less light than traditional billboards that are reflectively lit. Your mistaken perception that they are brighter comes from looking directly at the light source—the screen itself.
The underlying strategy of the spokesperson’s response to the resident is most analogous to the underlying strategy of which of the following?
[Refer to GMAT Official Guide for options]
Here is some general information about this OG question:
- PQID: CR46521.01
- Difficulty Level: Hard
- Most Common Incorrect option choice: Choice B and Choice D and Choice E
- Question Type: Structure/Parallel Reasoning
- OG Video Solution – CR46521.01 – City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should… | “Digital Electronic Billboards”
- OG Solution – CR46521.01 – City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should… | “Digital Electronic Billboards”
- City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should… [Key Takeaways]
- Some Additional resources
OG Video Solution – CR46521.01 – City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should… | “Digital Electronic Billboards”
OG Solution – CR46521.01 – City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should… | “Digital Electronic Billboards”
Hey folks! In this article, we are going to study one of the most distinctive CR question types on the GMAT – Analogous or Parallel Reasoning. The approach that you read here will help with all structure-based CR questions!
This is a rare question type – Parallel Reasoning. In this case, we need to find an option choice that depicts a strategy that can be considered analogous/similar to the strategy used by the spokesperson in the argument.
A question such as this tests us on our ability to understand the underlying structure. This means that we need to identify the structural elements in the passage and understand how they are linked. This is not very different from how we analyze Boldface arguments.
The most important point – never skip prethinking in such questions. If you spend time trying to understand the underlying structure, parallel reasoning questions are very, very easy (Trust us, we know)!
On the other hand, if you move to the answer choices without prethinking about the structure, you are minimizing your chances of solving the question correctly, and within time. Remember – at least one tricky incorrect choice will always be there among the options to create confusion.
Let’s now solve the question and see what we can learn from it!
Understanding the Argument(s)
|City Resident||These new digital electronic billboards should be banned for light pollution||City resident’s main conclusion/claim|
|City Resident||since they are much too bright.||Reasoning/Consideration for the above conclusion – also an opinion/belief.|
Observation on Structure:
The city resident makes a claim based on his/her own opinion/belief. No evidence or data is offered to support the claim, only an opinion.
|Outdoor advertising spokesperson (OAS)||No, that’s not true.||OAS’s conclusion – challenges the above opinion. The OAS claims that it is not true that digital electronic billboards are too bright.|
|Outdoor advertising spokesperson (OAS)||Testing with a sophisticated light meter shows that at night they throw off less light than traditional billboards that are reflectively lit.||Factual evidence (test results) used by the OAS to support his/her conclusion above.|
|Outdoor advertising spokesperson (OAS)||Your mistaken perception that they are brighter comes from looking directly at the light source—the screen itself.||Additional reason brought in by the OAS to attack the city resident’s claim – provides an explanation for why the city resident may have arrived at the disputed opinion (“too bright”).|
- The OAS attacks the reasoning used by the city resident by claiming that it is not true that digital billboards are too bright.
- The OAS provides factual evidence to support his/her claim/disprove the resident’s claim.
- The OAS also adds an additional reason to counter the city resident’s claim – by providing an explanation for how the city resident may have arrived at the opinion that digital electronic billboards are too bright.
The question is asking us to identify an option that employs a similar strategy as the one employed by the OAS.
So, what has the OAS done from a structure standpoint?
- He/she has provided evidence/data of some sort to counter/disprove the resident’s claim.
- He/she has added further reasoning to counter the city resident’s claim – by providing an explanation for how the city resident may have arrived at the “incorrect” claim/belief.
So, a perfect answer choice would be one in which an X provides evidence/data to disprove Y’s opinion/claim, and then further adds an explanation for why Y could have ended up with the incorrect opinion (I.e., incorrect as per X).
Fun Sidenote: While solving a question in real-time, we should move to options after this level of analysis. But, when you get time to analyze the question in more depth, I encourage you to create your own arguments based on the same structure as practice.
This exercise will build up your comfort levels with all types of argument structures.
An example I created (for all the Brooklyn 99 fans reading this!):
Jake: Orange soda is healthy because it contains a large quantity of orange juice.
Raymond: It is not true that orange soda contains a large quantity of orange juice. Tests on multiple brands show that the quantity of orange soda is minuscule (providing evidence to counter). Your mistaken perception about orange soda containing a large quantity of orange juice is actually because of the factually inaccurate TV ads of these brands, which claim that the orange soda is mostly orange juice (explanation for what led to the incorrect opinion).
Answer Choice Analysis
Option A is the correct answer, whereas options B, D, and E are all popular but incorrect. Let us analyze each option in depth.
Option A: A doctor dismisses a patient’s claim to have had a heart attack, citing a cardiac enzyme blood test.
The doctor uses evidence (cardiac enzyme test) to disprove the patient’s claim. This does match the structure we are looking for, albeit partially. There is no mention of the doctor providing an explanation for why the patient felt he got a heart attack, though.
Keep this option choice under consideration for now. It covers part of the structure we observed. So, it does resemble the structure somewhat.
Option B: A politician rejects an accusation of perjury by denying the credibility of witness testimony.
The politician does not use any evidence/test results/data to counter the accusation; he/she merely claims that the witness is not credible, without any actual evidence/data. Also, the politician provides no reason to explain why someone may unfairly accuse him/her of perjury. So, option B does not match the structure.
Option C: An insurance agent rejects a claim, on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence to support the claimant’s testimony.
The insurance agent neither presents any objective evidence/data to support his/her conclusion that the claim should be rejected, nor does he/she provide any explanation for why someone may falsely perceive that the claim is valid.
The spokesperson in the passage provides evidence to counter the resident’s claim instead of citing insufficient evidence for the resident’s claim.
So, option C does not match our structure.
Option D: An investigator casts doubt on the results of a lie detector, citing the subject’s report of illness during the test.
This is a clever option. We need to be careful!
In the passage, the spokesperson brings in data/evidence to prove his/her point. There is no evidence/data given against his/her conclusion, and so it is not true that he/she casts doubt on any evidence/data. The spokesperson is the one bringing in the evidence!
Here, however, the investigator casts doubts on a piece of evidence/data (results of a lie detector test) instead of presenting his/her own evidence/test results/data. So, option D goes in the other direction of our actual structure at some level.
Option E: A psychologist treats a mental illness by encouraging a patient to abandon inconsistent beliefs.
There is no claim made by the patient that gets rejected here. Also, the psychologist does not bring in any data/evidence to counter a claim. Also, in the passage, the city resident does not have any inconsistent beliefs that the spokesperson tries to encourage him/her to abandon. So, this option is completely irrelevant.
As we can see, the only option that even closely matches the structure of the spokesperson’s strategy is option A. It is the correct answer.
City resident: These new digital electronic billboards should… [Key Takeaways]
Now that we have solved the question, let’s summarize. Here are some important lessons:
- Two-person argument questions: in such questions, pay extra attention to the question stem. Only the question stem can tell us what exactly we need to do. Here, it was to find a parallel to what the spokesperson did. In another question, the question could be drastically different.
- For Parallel Reasoning/Analogous Reasoning questions, drill deep and identify the underlying structure – what are the conclusions, what are the claims, what is being said based on what, is evidence being provided as support, or only opinion? Observing the underlying structure is all you need to do!
- Do not skip prethinking in any structure-based CR question. Spending time crystallizing your understanding of the structural aspects will save you a lot of time when analyzing options.
- For every option, analyze the structure depicted in the option choice against the core structure observed in the actual argument.
Some Additional resources
There are quite a few questions that involve a conversation between two people. Here is one you should try:
OG Question 1 – Sasha: It must be healthy to follow a diet high…
Sasha: It must be healthy to follow a diet high in animal proteins and fats. Human beings undoubtedly evolved to thrive on such a diet, since our prehistoric ancestors ate large amounts of meat.
Jamal: But our ancestors also exerted themselves intensely in order to obtain this food, whereas most human beings today are much less physically active.
Jamal responds to Sasha by doing which of the following?
Hope this helps!
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