LSAT 46 – Section 2 – Question 11

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT46 S2 Q11
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Hardest 144.676 +SubsectionEasier

The question stem reads: The career consultant's reasoning is most vulnerable to criticism on grounds that it. This is a Flaw question.

The consultant begins the argument by claiming the most popular career advice suggests emphasizing one's strengths and downplaying one's weaknesses to employers. The consultant then claims that research shows this advice to be incorrect. We have referential phrasing, so let's rephrase that claim to research shows emphasizing one's strengths and downplaying one's weaknesses to employers is bad advice. So if you are an employee, it is ill-advised to emphasize your good qualities and downplay your bad qualities, which is the consultant's conclusion.

Before we move forward, ask yourself what kind of research would provide the best evidence for the consultant's claim. Imagine if the consultant cited a study using dogs. Would you think that is excellent evidence for a claim about employees? Of course, you wouldn't because dogs are not the same as employees. Unless you are a Police K9, but let's not get too technical here. Good evidence would be research on employees. We want to be anticipating what the argument ought to say. If what the argument actually says deviates from what the argument ought to say, then bingo - we have found our flaw.

So what research does the consultant use? They say that a study of 314 managers shows that those who use self-deprecating humor in front of their employees are more likely to be seen by them (the employees) as even-handed, thoughtful, and concerned than those (the managers) who do not. Wait a minute, did the consultant just cite research about how managers present themselves to employees to conclude how employees should present themselves to employers? The argument uses evidence about one group to make a conclusion about another group. That is our flaw right there. Let's move to the answer choices.

Correct Answer Choice (A) is exactly what we identified as a flaw. When we map the stimulus onto (A), we get Bases a conclusion about how one group (managers) will respond to self-deprecation on information (the study of 314 managers) about how a different group (the employees) responds to it (self-depreciation). Bingo.

Answer Choice (B) is incorrect because the argument's conclusion is not about humor; the conclusion says that employees should not downplay weakness and emphasize strength. If the consultant's conclusion were about how managers should use (any type of) humor in front of their employees, then (B) would look better.

Answer Choice (C) is wrong because the research cited by the consultant says that managers who used self-deprecating humor were in a more positive light than managers who did not use self-deprecating humor. So the proposed problem in (C) is covered by the argument. (C) would look better if the stimulus said, "Managers who used self-deprecating humor were seen positively by employees," instead of comparing the managers who used the humor and those who did not. Even then, we would still run into the mismatch between employees and managers.

Answer Choice (D) is simply not done by the argument. Eliminate it.

Answer Choice (E) is the popular wrong answer, but I think that is primarily out of desperation. It is difficult to map this onto the stimulus. Those who picked (E) likely saw that the manager made a conclusion about the popular career advice (to emphasize strengths and downplay weaknesses). However, the evidence cited by the researcher is not a critique of that career advice. It is simply research.

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