Welcome to your IMAT DAY 3 _CRITICAL THINKING REVIEW

Childhood obesity is still a problem. This is often blamed on the fact that children have easy access to a range of unhealthy foods and increasingly have more money available to them to spend on fattening and sugar-filled foods. A solution seems obvious – raise the prices of all these foods so that parents will have more control over what their children eat and will find it more economical to buy healthy foods. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to work as the problem is also caused by the fact that unhealthy foods tend to be more convenient and that is what many parents consider when deciding what foods to provide. A wider range of 'ready to eat' healthy food options would be a good start to solving the problem of child obesity. Which one of the following best expresses the main conclusion of the above argument?
High profile members of society can raise awareness of worthy causes better than members of the public, because they have their opinions listened to and respected more readily by a larger number of people. Celebrities should not be shy about drawing attention to charities and foundations to whichtheydonatetheirtimeandmoney,becauseitmayencourageotherpeople todothesame. Which one of the following best illustrates the principle underlying the argument above?
What is a clone but a twin? What is genetic engineering or selective breeding but assisted evolution? How often do we hear these trite excuses for man's arrogant interference with natural processes? Too often. It is time to call a halt and consider just what limits need to be placed on the break-neck progress of bio-technology, if 'progress' is even the right word for it. The big question for science should not be 'What's in it for us?' but 'Could this have happened naturally?' And if the answer is 'No' then we should not bring it about just because we have found that we can. If we do we may live a bit longer or grow more food per acre, but we don't know where our meddling will end. Which one of the following is a principle which underlies the above argument?
In recent years there has been increased concern that fashion models reflect an unrealistic and unattainable image of femininity and that this has a negative effect on the self-esteem of many young women. Many major designers continue to design for an exceptionally tall and flat- chested female frame. It should be no surprise therefore that there have been several cases recently when designers have favoured male models on their catwalks to model their womenswear. Rather than being a cause of surprise or concern, this should be welcomed as a recognition of the fact that these designs are unsuitable for most women and it draws attention to the major differences between catwalk fashion and clothing for the real world. Which one of the following statements, if true, would most strengthen the argument above?
The government is considering changing the law to assume consent for the donation of organs after death. People opposed to the idea would have to deliberately 'opt out' of the scheme, although relatives would still be consulted. The supply of healthy organs available for transplant would be vastly increased under this scheme. If the government really wants to improve the lives of people with long-term health problems, this is a measure it must take. Which one of the following, if true, would most strengthen the argument in the passage above?
Children born in Japan today can expect to live five years longer than their American counterparts. Life expectancy has been rising in all countries, but the slowest rate of increase has been in the USA. What could account for this, given that the percentage of people who smoke is roughly the same in all rich countries? Of course, the USA is the birthplace of fast food restaurants that sell unhealthy food. Moreover, a recent survey of American lifestyles has found that overeating and failure to exercise are widespread amongst the population. So we must assume that obesity and lack of exercise have caused the USA to lag behind in the increase in life expectancy. Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the above argument?
Children need to play in order to develop their thinking skills. When children play, they are merely going through scenarios, working out the consequences and implications of actions, puzzling out what might happen – the very same processes that adults have learned to do in their heads, the process more commonly known as 'thinking'! It follows that thinking and playing are really one and the same thing. Which one of the following best expresses the main conclusion of the above argument?
While some animal rights activists have long accepted that there is a link between bovine tuberculosis (TB in cattle) and badgers, others have argued that it was not proven. They felt that the culling of badgers to stop the spread of TB in cattle was not justified if a link was unproven. But direct evidence of the transmission of TB between badgers and cattle has now been found. DNA sequencing of the TB bacteria in cattle and in badgers has shown that the disease crosses species barriers. This latest discovery completely undermines the case of those who have opposed badger culling. To protect farmers from severe loss of their cattle and hence their livelihoods – and to protect one of our primary sources of meat and milk – the badger population should be culled. Which one of the following, if true, would most weaken the argument in the passage above?
Few linguists would argue against the view that our first language is acquired and not learned. Pre-school children do not study their native tongue nor do they learn grammar rules but, by the time they start school at the age of five or six, the vast majority are competent users of their language. Therefore, when learning a second or additional language, studying grammar is a waste of time and all that is required is exposure to the target language in order to acquire competency in its use. Which one of the following identifies the underlying assumption of the above argument?
In 1688 the Irish philosopher William Molyneux asked whether a blind person who regained their visioncouldrecognisebysightanobjecttheyhadpreviouslyonlyknownbytouch.RichardHeld and Pawan Sinha of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attempted to answer this question in an experiment with five children in India who had just had successful surgery which gave them their sight for the first time. Within 48 hours of the operation the children were asked to feel a toy block without lookingatit.Theywerethenshowntwoblocks,oneofwhichtheyhad touched.Theyidentifiedthe orginal block just over half of the time and this is only a little better than guesswork. Recognising touched objects by sight alone improved within days. Which one of the following can be drawn as a conclusion of the above passage?
A study involving a brain-training exercise was carried out on more than a thousand adults aged 65 and over, some of whom later developed dementia. Results showed that the benefits of the five- weekmentalagilitycourseundertakenbysomeoftheadultslastedforatleastfiveyears. Thisled to an improvement in everyday activities such as money management and the ability to do housework. If those with trained brains developed dementia, they did so later than those in the control group. The results also showed that, for those people in the study who developed dementia, after the diagnosis their mental decline occurred faster than for those who had not undertaken the training. Which one of the following can be drawn as a conclusion from the above passage?
Once again it has become fashionable for householders to replace their carpets with wooden floors. Sales of laminate and solid floors, such as oak, have seen a massive increase in the last ten years. This trend seems more in tune with our eco-friendly aspirations: carpets are often plastic-based and use vast quantities of underlying material, or underlay, made from petrochemicals. For this reason, it seems unlikely that wooden floors will go out of fashion in the near future. Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the above argument?
According to the current mainstream scientific view, Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are explicable in purely physiological terms. Specifically, they are caused by cerebral anoxia (oxygen deficiency in brain tissue), which occurs in a dying brain. On the other hand, recent research on hundreds of successfully resuscitated cardiac patients found that only twenty per cent reported NDEs. If NDEs had purely medical causes then most of the patients should have experienced them, since they had all been clinically dead and experienced cerebral anoxia. NDEs therefore do not have purely physiological causes. Which one of the following best expresses the main conclusion of the above passage?
Increasingly, the quality of a teacher, and of his or her lessons, is to be judged by feedback from their pupils. This is dangerous, as pupils have a tendency to focus too much on whether or not they enjoyed the lesson, in other words, on how much ‘fun’ they found it. The purpose of education, however, is not to keep children entertained; it is not to make their lives more fun. Arguably, it is not even to make them happier, per se. The purpose of schools is to make their pupils better, more educated people. This is all that matters, and therefore it is whether the teacher succeeds at this – not at being a children’s entertainer – that counts. Which one of the following is a flaw in the above argument?
Researchers have tried to establish reasons for a recent drop in the catch of marlin near the Madeira coast. This drop cannot be explained by environmental conditions; there was no significant change in the temperature or composition of the region’s water. Nor could one blame the human factor, because the size of the fishing fleet, catch quotas and pollution levels have been strictly observed. The environmentalists then analysed the records of the fishing catch of marlin over the last six centuries. This research identified that regular five-year periods of significant decrease in the catch alternated with fifteen-year periods of gradual growth of the catch. In view of this, the study concluded that the current drop in the marlin catch is part of a long-term cycle related to fish migration and food-chain balance. Which one of the following is an underlying assumption of the above argument?
Thousands of books and blogs – and quite a bit of legitimate science – sing the praises of positivity. Optimistic, happy people tend to be healthier, more physically active and more successful. They may even live longer. But as shown by research, positivity, when deployed at the wrong time or in the wrong amount, can have negative effects. For example, when it comes to waiting for the results of an exam or a job interview, ‘being prepared for the worst’ is shown to be a better strategy for protecting ourselves than categorical optimism. When it comes to health, negative thinking spurs people into seeking information and engaging in healthy behaviour. Finally, relentlessly positive people may seem dismissive or insensitive to friends who are having difficulties, seeming to make light of their problems. Which one of the following best expresses the main conclusion of the above argument?
Although the idea of a driverless vehicle seems like the stuff of science fiction, we are moving very close to the reality of self-driving cars. But we are so engrossed in the technology that we are ignoring the legal implications – and legislating for new scenarios takes time. A whole new set of questions is raised by the development of these machines. One example is the question of who takes responsibility when an accident happens. Given that the vast majority of crashes are caused in part at least by human error, self-driving cars should have the capacity to save lives. But they will not be perfect. So if an accident happens, who is responsible? The owner of the car, or the manufacturer of the car? The car itself cannot be prosecuted or made to pay damages. Which one of the following can be drawn as a conclusion from the above passage?
In 1938 the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian left Paris to escape the threat of German invasion and went to live in London, where he painted what are now regarded as his best works. Mondrian had the option of moving to a more rural area in England, but chose London because of his love of the diverse and vibrant culture of big cities. This explains why London has more artists living in it than any other city in England. Which one of the following is an underlying assumption of the above passage?
In some countries, prisoners may purchase books with the money they earn by working. Hence receiving gifts of books may discourage prisoners from undertaking paid work while in prison. This work is important in building self-esteem and encouraging a work ethic among prisoners. In any case, prisoners have access to books through the prison library. Therefore prisoners should not be allowed to receive parcels containing books from friends or relatives while they are serving their sentence. Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens the above argument?
People who take their holidays in Las Vegas love to gamble. Gerry will be going to France for his holiday so he must not like gambling. Which one of the following most closely parallels the reasoning used in the above argument?
A young woman (A), knowing that she was dying, requested that her mother (B), who was awaiting a kidney transplant, should be allowed to receive her kidneys after her death. The request was not allowed, and A's kidneys were received by another patient (C), who was higher up the waiting list than B because his medical need for a transplant was more urgent. The committee overseeing transplant decisions argued that the system it used had to be administered solely in accordance with the rationale behind its waiting list. Their decision seemed to others unduly bureaucratic, especially as B will be left to care for A's young child. Which one of the following best illustrates the principle behind the committee's decision?
From ever younger ages, people are reporting symptoms of anxiety due to the pressure to be 'perfect' in all areas of life. lt seems that, in many cultures, there is an increasing sense of competition in everything from school results to the job market to personal appearance and even how one's social life looks on social media. As a result, many people experience problems associated with low self-confidence. But rather than reach for a pill or a self-help book to tackle their problems, more of these individuals should just go outside for a run or a walk. While it sounds simplistic, this recommendation is supported by the research finding that people who do a lot of outdoor activities tend to have high self-esteem. Which one of the following is the best statement of the flaw in the above argument?
Our three local universities have agreed that they will offer a place to everyone from our school who applies to them. Because you attend a different school, you are not guaranteed an offer from these universities. Which one of the following most closely parallels the reasoning used in the above argument?
Of all the food we buy, bread suffers the worst fate when it comes to waste. 32% of it ends up being thrown away. We value other types of food a lot more, as the average for all food and drink being wasted is 15%. The proportion of meat and fish thrown away is below average (13%) and our most precious item is alcohol - we throw away just 6% of it. Which one of the following is an underlying assumption of the above argument?