Executive: We recently ran a set of advertisements in the print version of a travel magazine and on that magazine’s website. We were unable to get any direct information about consumer response to the print ads. However, we found that consumer response to the ads on the website was much more limited than is typical for website ads. We concluded that consumer response to the print ads was probably below par as well.
The executive’s reasoning does which one of the following?
bases a prediction of the intensity of a phenomenon on information about the intensity of that phenomenon’s cause
uses information about the typical frequency of events of a general kind to draw a conclusion about the probability of a particular event of that kind
infers a statistical generalization from claims about a large number of specific instances
uses a case in which direct evidence is available to draw a conclusion about an analogous case in which direct evidence is unavailable
bases a prediction about future events on facts about recent comparable events
Explanation for Question 2
This question asks you to identify how the executive’s reasoning proceeds. The ads discussed by the executive appeared in two places—in a magazine and on the magazine’s website. Some information is available concerning the effect of the website ads on consumers, but no consumer response information is available about the print ads. The executive’s remarks suggest that the ads that appeared in print and on the website were basically the same, or very similar. The executive reasoned that information about the effect of the website ads could be used as evidence for an inference about how the print ads likely performed. The executive thus used the analogy between the print ads and the website ads to infer something about the print ads. (D), therefore, is the correct response.
Response (A) is incorrect. The executive’s conclusion about the likely consumer response to the print ads does not constitute a prediction, but rather a judgment about events that have already transpired. Moreover, the executive’s conclusion is not based on any reasoning about the cause of the consumer response to the print ads.
Response (B) is incorrect. The executive does conclude that certain events are likely to have transpired on the basis of what was known to have transpired in a similar case, but no distinction can be made in the executive’s argument between events of a general kind and a particular event of that kind. There are two types of event in play in the executive’s argument and they are of the same level of generality—the response to the website ads and the response to the print ads.
Response (C) is incorrect. The executive does not infer a statistical generalization, which would involve generalizing about a population on the basis of a statistical sample. The executive merely draws a conclusion about the likely occurrence of specific events.
Response (E) is also incorrect. The executive does use the comparability of the print and website ads as the basis for the conclusion drawn; however, as noted above, the executive’s conclusion about the likely consumer response to the print ads does not constitute a prediction about future events, but rather a judgment about events that have already transpired.
This was an easy question, based on the number of test takers who answered it correctly when it appeared on the LSAT.