This is a follow-up question to solidify your learning of Causal Arguments in GMAT CR. We have already shared a series of two articles where we learned in detail all about the Causal Arguments. To maximize the benefit and accurately test your learning of the concepts, solve the question first and then move to the solution.

If you haven’t gone through the articles yet, we highly recommend you to visit them first.

Part – 1: Basis of Casual Arguments & How to Strengthen Arguments?

Part – 2: Basis of Causal Arguments & How to Weaken Arguments?

Now let’s solve the question –

1     Question

It is a fairly common belief that eating chocolates can cause headaches. Many people who are susceptible to headaches say that, they have invariably experienced episodes of headaches after eating large amounts of chocolate. Thus, it must be true that eating large amounts of chocolates causes headaches.

Of the following, which one most strongly weakens the argument?

  1. Some people who say that if they eat large amounts of chocolate they invariably suffer from a headache, are often mistaken in their perception.
  2. Multiple studies indicate that chemical changes in the brain associated with depression can cause headache and there is proof that people fond of chocolate have a tendency to eat more chocolate when they are depressed.
  3. The more frequently a person eats chocolates in large amounts, the more frequently the person reports having episodes of headaches.
  4. People who reported experiencing headaches after eating large amounts of chocolate have experienced fewer episodes of headaches when they were on a chocolate free diet than when they were not.
  5. Some people who are not very susceptible to headaches have rarely experienced headaches after bingeing on large amounts of chocolate.

1.1     SOLUTION

1.1.1       STEP 1- ANALYZING the STIMULUS

It is a fairly common belief that eating chocolates can cause headaches.

  • This premise talks about a third- party or general belief: It is possible that eating chocolates leads to headaches.

Many people who are susceptible to headaches say that, they have invariably experienced episodes of headaches after eating large amounts of chocolate.

  • To support the previous premise, the author cites some evidence:
    • There are many people who say that whenever they eat large amounts of chocolate, they have a headache afterwards.
      • These are people who are prone to experiencing headaches

Thus, it must be true that eating large amounts of chocolates causes headaches.

  • Based on the above premises, the author concludes that:
    • Eating large amounts of chocolates causes headaches.

1.1.2       STEP 2- PRE-THINKING

  1. The author has presented a causality in the conclusion
    a. Cause: Eating large amounts of chocolate
    b. Effect: Headaches
  2. Here, the author has some information about the fact that chocolates were eaten first and headaches followed.
  3. However, it is possible that something else was done before the headaches that was the real cause of the headaches.
  4. So, we are looking for an alternate cause to weaken the argument.

1.1.3       STEP 3- ANSWER CHOICE ELIMINATION

A. Some people who say that if they eat large amounts of chocolate they invariably suffer from a headache, are often confused about their recollections.

This choice states that the evidence of people saying they get headaches after eating large amounts of chocolate is not to be taken seriously since these people are not sure about what they remember. However, not sure is not the same as “not correct” and therefore this choice doesn’t really have much of an impact on the conclusion. This choice amounts to a distortion of given information.

Incorrect Choice.

B. Multiple studies indicate that chemical changes in the brain associated with depression can cause headache and there is proof that people fond of chocolate have a tendency to eat more chocolate when they are depressed.

This choice means: certain chemical changes related to depression lead to headaches. So people who are depressed may have headaches. Along with this, people who are depressed end up eating a lot of chocolates when they are depressed. So, a common cause– depression – has been suggested behind eating a lot of chocolates and getting headaches.

Thus, this choice suggests that it is the depression that causes eating a lot of chocolates as well as causes the headaches. This alternate cause weakens the conclusion that eating chocolates causes headaches.

Correct Choice.

 C. The more frequently a person eats chocolates in large amounts, the more frequently the person reports having episodes of headaches.

This choice if anything supports the causality indicating that there might be some truth in the causality mentioned in the conclusion.

Incorrect Choice.

D. People who reported experiencing headaches after eating large amounts of chocolate have experienced fewer episodes of headaches when they were on a chocolate free diet than when they were not.

This choice is built along the causality strengthener “No cause, no effect”. When the particular category of people (who reported experiencing headaches after eating large amounts of chocolate) did not eat chocolates, they had fewer experiences of headaches.

Incorrect Choice.

E. Some people who are not very susceptible to headaches have rarely experienced headaches after bingeing on large amounts of chocolate.

Just because “some” people did not much experience headaches after bingeing on large amounts of chocolate does not mean chocolates do not cause headaches. “Some” can be a very small number (at least one) and may not be impactful. Also, this choice talks about “people not susceptible to headaches” whereas the passage uses as evidence, the report of people “susceptible to headaches”. That makes this choice somewhat out of scope.

Incorrect Choice.

We hope the question helped you understand Causal Arguments in depth. Do you need more help with GMAT Verbal? Click here