LSAT Reading : Specific Questions Featuring the Except Structure

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Reading

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Example Question #1 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

Recent advances in non-invasive human neuroimaging have provided researchers in the emerging field of social brain science with insights into the workings of consciousness and social cognition. Of special interest is the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), a region of the brain associated with memory, fear, and, perhaps, prejudice.

Fears create memories, and those memories appear to be stored in the amygdala. This same region also seems to create memories that counter those fears, though these memories are then stored in the MPFC. Neuroimages show that nerves from the MPFC project into the amygdala, providing the mechanism for suppressing the fear response. As one might expect, rodents with MPFC damage have a decreased ability to deal with certain fears.

MPFC activity also seems to correlate with self-referential judgments and memory. The dorsal MPFC in particular shows heightened activity during introspective mental activity. Interestingly, there is a reduction in ventral MPFC activity when individuals are involved in tasks that demand attention. This indicates that cognitive activity can decrease certain emotional processing. Other differences between these two areas of the MPFC have been noted. The ventral region becomes more engaged when an individual is shown photographs of strangers whose political beliefs—so the viewer is told—are similar to those of the person viewing the photograph, but the dorsal region becomes more active when the photographs are of individuals with whom the viewer does not share the same political perspective.

As long ago as the 19th century, scientists knew that damage to the MPFC interfered with social skills while leaving other mental skills untouched. With our newfound ability to actually observe mental activity in both healthy and impaired individuals without recourse to surgery, we have entered into an area that is sure to provide us with information about ourselves that will prove to be of enormous interest and great usefulness.

Which of the following does the author NOT mention as being an advantage of neuroimaging?

Possible Answers:

Scientists do not have to rely on animals that have sustained injuries.

Healthy individuals can be studied through simple surgical procedures.

Greater insight as to how people perceive each other is made possible.

The connections between some parts of the brain are made apparent.

Researchers can better understand how people think about themselves.

Correct answer:

Healthy individuals can be studied through simple surgical procedures.

Explanation:

Solution: "Healthy individuals can be studied through simple surgical procedures."

Imagine this question as a checklist. Find the advantages that the author does mention, and eliminate those answer choices. The advantage of neuroimaging is that it is “non-invasive.” Surgery is invasive. "Researchers can better understand how people think about themselves.": The 1st paragraph tells us of advances in “self-referential judgments and memory,” in other words, how we think about ourselves. "The connections between some parts of the brain are made apparent.": The links between the amygdala and MPFC are shown by “neuroimages” (2nd paragraph.) "Greater insight as to how people perceive each other is made possible.": The 3rd paragraph discusses changes in the brain that depend on who individuals are thinking about. "Scientists do not have to rely on animals that have sustained injuries.": Since neuroimaging is “non-invasive,” humans (and perhaps, animals) that have not sustained injuries can be studied.

Example Question #2 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

Recent advances in non-invasive human neuroimaging have provided researchers in the emerging field of social brain science with insights into the workings of consciousness and social cognition. Of special interest is the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), a region of the brain associated with memory, fear, and, perhaps, prejudice.

Fears create memories, and those memories appear to be stored in the amygdala. This same region also seems to create memories that counter those fears, though these memories are then stored in the MPFC. Neuroimages show that nerves from the MPFC project into the amygdala, providing the mechanism for suppressing the fear response. As one might expect, rodents with MPFC damage have a decreased ability to deal with certain fears.

MPFC activity also seems to correlate with self-referential judgments and memory. The dorsal MPFC in particular shows heightened activity during introspective mental activity. Interestingly, there is a reduction in ventral MPFC activity when individuals are involved in tasks that demand attention. This indicates that cognitive activity can decrease certain emotional processing. Other differences between these two areas of the MPFC have been noted. The ventral region becomes more engaged when an individual is shown photographs of strangers whose political beliefs—so the viewer is told—are similar to those of the person viewing the photograph, but the dorsal region becomes more active when the photographs are of individuals with whom the viewer does not share the same political perspective.

As long ago as the 19th century, scientists knew that damage to the MPFC interfered with social skills while leaving other mental skills untouched. With our newfound ability to actually observe mental activity in both healthy and impaired individuals without recourse to surgery, we have entered into an area that is sure to provide us with information about ourselves that will prove to be of enormous interest and great usefulness.

According to the passage, it is likely that the memories that allay fears are _______.

Possible Answers:

formed in the dorsal and ventral MPFC

created and stored in different parts of the brain

related to memories that form prejudices

affected by tasks that demand attention

able to be manipulated in rats through neuroimaging procedures

Correct answer:

created and stored in different parts of the brain

Explanation:

Solution: "created and stored in different parts of the brain"

Refer back to the passage to answer this Specific question. According to the 2nd paragraph, the amygdala “creates memories that counter those fears, though these memories are then stored in the MPFC.” "formed in the dorsal and ventral MPFC": No connection is made between specific regions of the MPFC and fears. "related to memories that form prejudices": No connection is made between prejudices and memories that allay fears. "able to be manipulated in rats through neuroimaging procedures": No mention of manipulating rats’ memories is made. Neuroimaging is used for viewing images, not manipulating memories. "affected by tasks that demand attention": Attention-demanding tasks are not mentioned in relation to fears.

 

 

Example Question #164 : Reading Comprehension

The phrase “alternative stable state” in ecology refers to the tendency of many ecosystems to have different, stable configurations of biotic and abiotic conditions across large time scales separated by what are called regime or phase shifts. Alternative stable state theory claims that instead of a forest transitioning slowly along a gradient toward a different stable state, that forest will reach a crucial tipping point (known as an ecological threshold) as deforestation occurs. Any change beyond this threshold will lead to a rapid change towards the second stable state of the biome in question, in this case a grassland.

Ecologists typically describe this theory with an analogy: Picture a set of three hills, between which are two valleys with a ball sitting in one of them that you want to push into the other. If you don’t push enough, the ball just rolls back down to where it started, but if you give the ball a big enough push, it will roll all the way into the valley on the other side of the hill. From there, it would require a similarly big push to get the ball back to where it started. Stable states are the valleys – where the balls want to stay if no outside forces are involved. However, if there is a big enough change in the environment to cause the ball to roll all the way up the hill to its highest point (the ecological threshold), the ball can be forced from one valley into another relatively quickly – this is a phase shift.

Until recently, most work discussing alternative stable states was theoretical – the idea of purposefully changing an environment to this extent was considered unthinkable – but several cases of confirmed alternative stable states have been reported. For example, disrupting the balance of phosphorous in a clearwater lake can lead to out-of-control phytoplankton blooms. Reducing this addition of phosphorous has so far not been an effective way of stopping the phytoplankton blooms, leading researchers to think that the ecosystem has been pushed into a new local equilibrium. This idea of hysteresis – that the state of an environment depends at least in part on its history and not just its current state – is at the core of many debates surrounding alternative stable state theory. However, whether most ecosystems that can exist under multiple stable states will readily convert between the two is still an open debate.

All of the following are discussed in the passage EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

the addition of phosphorous to a clearwater lake

out-of-control phytoplankton blooms in a lake

stable ecological configurations across short time frames

the existence of multiple stable states for an ecosystem

the importance of history in analyzing a particular environment

Correct answer:

stable ecological configurations across short time frames

Explanation:

As with any “except” style specific question, you should go locate each of the incorrect answers and confirm their presence in the passage. The remaining choice will be the correct answer. The primary difficulty in this type of question usually comes from wordplay, so make sure you read each answer carefully to avoid accidentally misinterpreting one or more of them.

For "the importance of history in analyzing a particular environment", this can be found near the end of the last paragraph: “This idea of hysteresis – that the state of an environment depends at least in part on its history and not just its current state…” "the existence of multiple stable states for an ecosystem" can be found in multiple places but is most concretely stated in the last sentence: “However, whether most ecosystems that can exist under multiple stable states will readily convert between the two is still an open debate.” "out-of-control phytoplankton blooms in a lake" and "the addition of phosphorous to a clearwater lake" are easily found in the last paragraph with the following: “For example, disrupting the balance of phosphorous in a clearwater lake can lead to out-of-control phytoplankton blooms. Reducing this addition of phosphorous.” For "stable ecological configurations across short time frames", the correct answer, you must read carefully. “Stable ecological configurations” are indeed discussed in the passage but only over long time frames, not short time frames!

Example Question #2 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

The phrase “alternative stable state” in ecology refers to the tendency of many ecosystems to have different, stable configurations of biotic and abiotic conditions across large time scales separated by what are called regime or phase shifts. Alternative stable state theory claims that instead of a forest transitioning slowly along a gradient toward a different stable state, that forest will reach a crucial tipping point (known as an ecological threshold) as deforestation occurs. Any change beyond this threshold will lead to a rapid change towards the second stable state of the biome in question, in this case a grassland.

Ecologists typically describe this theory with an analogy: Picture a set of three hills, between which are two valleys with a ball sitting in one of them that you want to push into the other. \ If you don’t push enough, the ball just rolls back down to where it started, but if you give the ball a big enough push, it will roll all the way into the valley on the other side of the hill. From there, it would require a similarly big push to get the ball back to where it started. Stable states are the valleys – where the balls want to stay if no outside forces are involved. However, if there is a big enough change in the environment to cause the ball to roll all the way up the hill to its highest point (the ecological threshold), the ball can be forced from one valley into another relatively quickly – this is a phase shift.

Until recently, most work discussing alternative stable states was theoretical – the idea of purposefully changing an environment to this extent was considered unthinkable – but several cases of confirmed alternative stable states have been reported. For example, disrupting the balance of phosphorous in a clearwater lake can lead to out-of-control phytoplankton blooms. Reducing this addition of phosphorous has so far not been an effective way of stopping the phytoplankton blooms, leading researchers to think that the ecosystem has been pushed into a new local equilibrium. This idea of hysteresis – that the state of an environment depends at least in part on its history and not just its current state – is at the core of many debates surrounding alternative stable state theory. However, whether most ecosystems that can exist under multiple stable states will readily convert between the two is still an open debate.

Which of the following is confirmed in the passage as causing a phase shift in the environment?

Possible Answers:

the addition of phosphorous to a lake

the movement of balls over a hill

the repeated logging of certain forests

the presence of drought conditions in a certain region

the blooming of phytoplankton in a lake

Correct answer:

the addition of phosphorous to a lake

Explanation:

For this type of specific question, you need to focus on keywords in the question stem and then go look in the passage where those words were discussed to find one of the answers. For this question, there were only two spots in the passage where concrete causes of a phase shift were discussed: in the beginning relating to the change from forest to grassland, and at the end with the observed example of the clearwater lake.

"the addition of phosphorous to a lake" can be found relatively easily in the last paragraph where the clearwater example is given. It states: “For example, disrupting the balance of phosphorous in a clearwater lake can lead to out-of-control phytoplankton blooms [which is later described as a new stable state].” Some might wonder if there is enough to prove that the phosphorous is “an addition” (this sentence only says disrupting a balance) but this is confirmed cleverly by the next sentence, which says: “Reducing this addition of phosphorous has…” So indeed you can be sure that the addition of phosphorous is confirmed in the passage as causing a phase shift and "the addition of phosphorous to a lake" is correct.

"the blooming of phytoplankton in a lake" is tricky as the blooming of phytoplankton is not the CAUSE of the phase shift; rather it is the new stable state that results from the cause, which is the addition of phosphorous. For "the movement of balls over a hill", the movement of balls over a hill relates to the analogy used in the second paragraph – it is not stated as a confirmed example in the passage.

For "the presence of drought conditions in a certain region", drought conditions could certainly cause a phase shift within certain ecologies, but this is not given as an example anywhere in the passage. "the repeated logging of certain forests" is also tricky, as deforestation is confirmed as the cause of a phase shift in the first paragraph. However, deforestation is in no way the same thing as repeated logging (remember to always look out for wordplay!!!) Most deforestation relates to things other than logging, and logging itself may or may not be the cause of a phase shift. The correct answer is "the addition of phosphorous to a lake".

 

 

Example Question #3 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or more broadly by the politics of feminism. Its history has been widespread and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller, to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies by "third-wave" authors. In the most general and simple terms, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s—in the first and second waves of feminism—was concerned with the politics of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature, including the depiction of fictional female characters. In addition, feminist criticism was further concerned with the exclusion of women from the western literary canon – an exclusion that most feminist critics suggest is due to the views of women authors not being considered universal.

Since the development of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity and third-wave feminism, modern feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes, namely in the tradition of the Frankfurt School's critical theory. It has considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, as part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment. It has also been closely associated with the birth and growth of gay studies. The more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism. More specifically, modern feminist criticism deals with those issues related to the patriarchal programming within key aspects of society including education, politics, and the work force.

Recently, Lisa Tuttle has defined feminist theory as asking "new questions of old texts." Consequently she cites the following as the primary goals of feminist criticism: \ to uncover a female tradition of writing; to interpret symbolism of women's writing so that it will not be lost or ignored by the male point of view; to analyze women writers and their writings from a female perspective; to examine sexism in literature; and to increase awareness of the sexual politics of language and style. Only through such analysis, she argues, can a proper view of feminist criticism be framed moving forward.

According to the passage, all of the following would likely be a concern for feminist critics during the first and second waves of feminism EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

the behavior of fictional female characters

the working conditions of several female characters

the politics relating to female authorship

the male domination of the literary world

the lack of important female characters in several popular novels

Correct answer:

the lack of important female characters in several popular novels

Explanation:

Explanation: All of the information required to answer the question comes in the first paragraph. The passage states explicitly that criticism in that era was concerned with “the politics of women's authorship”, “the depiction of fictional female characters” so "the politics relating to female authorship" and "the behavior of fictional female characters" are both concerns. For "the working conditions of several female characters", the passage states categorically that criticism in that era was concerned with “the representation of women's condition within literature” "the male domination of the literary world" is also a little difficult to find but is at the end of the first paragraph. The passage states that feminists were “concerned with the exclusion of women from the western literary canon” - which can be expressed as the male domination of the literary world. "the lack of important female characters in several popular novels" is correct as there is absolute nothing in the passage to suggest that feminist critics were concerned with several novels that did not happen to contain important female characters. Answer is "the lack of important female characters in several popular novels".

Example Question #4 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or more broadly by the politics of feminism. Its history has been widespread and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller, to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies by "third-wave" authors. In the most general and simple terms, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s—in the first and second waves of feminism—was concerned with the politics of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature, including the depiction of fictional female characters. In addition, feminist criticism was further concerned with the exclusion of women from the western literary canon – an exclusion that most feminist critics suggest is due to the views of women authors not being considered universal.

Since the development of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity and third-wave feminism, modern feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes, namely in the tradition of the Frankfurt School's critical theory. It has considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, as part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment. It has also been closely associated with the birth and growth of gay studies. The more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism. More specifically, modern feminist criticism deals with those issues related to the patriarchal programming within key aspects of society including education, politics, and the work force.

Recently, Lisa Tuttle has defined feminist theory as asking "new questions of old texts." Consequently she cites the following as the primary goals of feminist criticism: \ to uncover a female tradition of writing; to interpret symbolism of women's writing so that it will not be lost or ignored by the male point of view; to analyze women writers and their writings from a female perspective; to examine sexism in literature; and to increase awareness of the sexual politics of language and style. Only through such analysis, she argues, can a proper view of feminist criticism be framed moving forward.

According to the passage, all of the following are considered new routes of modern feminist literary criticism EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

viewing gender in terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

focusing on the representation and politics of women’s lives.

regarding gender as a tangible political contribution.

deconstructing existing relations of power in relation to gender.

scrutinizing gender in the tradition of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory.

Correct answer:

focusing on the representation and politics of women’s lives.

Explanation:

As with most harder specific style questions, the primary difficulty comes from wordplay and/or precision in wording. First, you should locate where these issues are discussed. The second paragraph starts with “modern feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes, namely in the tradition of the Frankfurt School's critical theory” so you would expect to find each of these after that. "viewing gender in terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis.", "deconstructing existing relations of power in relation to gender.", and "regarding gender as a tangible political contribution." are each found quite easily in the second sentence of the paragraph so you know none of those is correct. For "focusing on the representation and politics of women’s lives.", it will first seem that this is also in the paragraph as two sentences later you find: “The more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism.” But if you read carefully you see that this is NOT new (a requirement in the question stem) because of the words “has continued.” As a result "focusing on the representation and politics of women’s lives." is correct. For "scrutinizing gender in the tradition of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory.", in the opening sentence of the paragraph it states that the new routes are in the tradition of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory so this is found in the passage. Correct answer is "focusing on the representation and politics of women’s lives.".

 

 

Example Question #5 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

In day-to-day functioning, people rely on both memory and knowledge of that memory, referred to as metamemory. For example, a person often cannot immediately recall a name upon meeting someone, but they feel that they know it. This feeling is the result of monitoring memory. Because of this feeling-of-knowing (FOK), most people will continue to search their memory for this name. Once a name is generated, people then monitor and decide if they are confident enough to use that name.

Memory monitoring involves evaluating the ongoing progress of any aspect of memory. Experiments that evaluate memory monitoring typically have individuals make subjective judgments about their memory at various stages of learning and recall. Participants are asked a series of questions. After each question that they answer, they are asked to provide a retrospective confidence (RC) judgment, rating the likelihood that their response is accurate. When participants do not answer a question, they are asked for their prospective FOK judgment, assessing whether they nonetheless feel they do know the answer (for example because they think they may be able to remember it at some point in the future).

Perhaps predictably, RC judgments are highly correlated with actual knowledge of a topic. FOK judgments, however, correlate rather weakly—albeit positively—with actual knowledge. While there are some instances where the FOK is the result of a momentary inability to recall something, more often than not the FOK stems from the sense that one should know something, for example because the field is familiar.

Research has resulted in a general consensus that, when monitoring memory, individuals infer whether a particular response will be, or has been, remembered based on the inputs that are readily available. However, the particular inputs used differ depending on when memory is assessed. Prospective FOK judgments are thought to be based on familiarity of the cue, accessibility of information about the memory, or a combination of the two. In contrast, it is widely accepted that RC judgments are based on the memory-retrieval experience—that is, the “on-line” experience of directly retrieving some previously studied item.

According to the passage, FOK judgments and RC judgments differ in all of the following ways EXCEPT that

Possible Answers:

one is subjective and the other is objective.

one is more accurate than the other.

they involve inferences based on different clues.

they are elicited experimentally under different conditions.

they assess knowledge at different points in the recall process.

Correct answer:

one is subjective and the other is objective.

Explanation:

Except questions are specific questions for which you need to look back and find evidence for each answer in the text. If you can’t find evidence for a particular statement, that’s your answer. Remember, however, that these questions are often best done by process of elimination – it is often much easier to conclude that you can find evidence for four of five statements than conclude that you can’t find evidence for one.

The question asks for how FOK and RC judgments are different – therefore, the correct answer will be a way in which the two are the same or will be a completely untrue statement.

Answer choice "they assess knowledge at different points in the recall process." is true – FOK judgments assess knowledge for questions that are left unanswered after experimental subjects fail to answer them, while RC judgments assess knowledge after the participants answer a question. Eliminate "they assess knowledge at different points in the recall process.".

Answer choice "they are elicited experimentally under different conditions." is true for the same reason as "they assess knowledge at different points in the recall process.". The “different conditions” are the different points in the process under which RC and FOK judgments are assessed. Eliminate "they are elicited experimentally under different conditions.".

Answer choice "one is subjective and the other is objective." is false, since the passage states in paragraph 2 that both judgments are subjective: “Experiments that evaluate memory monitoring typically have individuals make subjective judgments about their memory at various stages of learning and recall.” Because choice "one is subjective and the other is objective."isn’t even true, it can’t be a point of difference, so choice "one is subjective and the other is objective." is correct.

Choice "they involve inferences based on different clues." is true based on information found in the fourth paragraph. The passage states that the “clue” the person bases a FOK judgment on is familiarity with the topic. For RC judgments, the “clue” is the memory retrieval experience itself – how they felt while they were remembering the information in question. Eliminate "they involve inferences based on different clues.".

Choice "one is more accurate than the other." is true based on information found in the third paragraph, which states that RC is a much more reliable indicator as to whether a person got something right or wrong than FOK is. 

Example Question #1 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

In day-to-day functioning, people rely on both memory and knowledge of that memory, referred to as metamemory. For example, a person often cannot immediately recall a name upon meeting someone, but they feel that they know it. This feeling is the result of monitoring memory. Because of this feeling-of-knowing (FOK), most people will continue to search their memory for this name. Once a name is generated, people then monitor and decide if they are confident enough to use that name.

Memory monitoring involves evaluating the ongoing progress of any aspect of memory. Experiments that evaluate memory monitoring typically have individuals make subjective judgments about their memory at various stages of learning and recall. Participants are asked a series of questions. After each question that they answer, they are asked to provide a retrospective confidence (RC) judgment, rating the likelihood that their response is accurate. When participants do not answer a question, they are asked for their prospective FOK judgment, assessing whether they nonetheless feel they do know the answer (for example because they think they may be able to remember it at some point in the future).

Perhaps predictably, RC judgments are highly correlated with actual knowledge of a topic. FOK judgments, however, correlate rather weakly—albeit positively—with actual knowledge. While there are some instances where the FOK is the result of a momentary inability to recall something, more often than not the FOK stems from the sense that one should know something, for example because the field is familiar.

Research has resulted in a general consensus that, when monitoring memory, individuals infer whether a particular response will be, or has been, remembered based on the inputs that are readily available. However, the particular inputs used differ depending on when memory is assessed. Prospective FOK judgments are thought to be based on familiarity of the cue, accessibility of information about the memory, or a combination of the two. In contrast, it is widely accepted that RC judgments are based on the memory-retrieval experience—that is, the “on-line” experience of directly retrieving some previously studied item.

Which of the following, if true, would support the author's claims about the inputs associated with memory monitoring?

Possible Answers:

The longer the time period between when an individual studies a topic and when he or she is asked about it, the lower the FOK judgment associated with that question.

Individuals who were asked the same question on subsequent days reported higher FOK - even if they didn't know the answer - than did individuals who hadn't heard the question before.

Individuals report high RC if the memory accessed to answer a question had a large amount of accessible information associated with it.

Brain scans of individuals performing FOK and RC judgments show that the two processes occur in different areas of the brain.

Prospective FOK judgments are often associated with high levels of brain activity around the memory retrieval centers of the brain.

Correct answer:

Individuals who were asked the same question on subsequent days reported higher FOK - even if they didn't know the answer - than did individuals who hadn't heard the question before.

Explanation:

Whenever the GMAT asks you to recall (or apply) a specific part of the text, you should consult your STOP reading of the passage to determine where in the text you need to look back to answer the question. In this case, the question asks you about the "inputs associated with memory monitoring." In other words, what factors affect a RC or FOK judgment? This information can be found in the last paragraph, which states that RC judgments are based on the "memory retrieval experience" whereas FOK judgments are based on "familiarity of the cue, accessibility of information about the memory, or a combination of the two." The correct answer will support one of these two claims.

The only one that matches is choice "Individuals who were asked the same question on subsequent days reported higher FOK - even if they didn't know the answer - than did individuals who hadn't heard the question before.". If individuals who have heard a question before (but still can't answer it) have higher FOK than those who haven't heard the question, that lines up with the claim that the "familiarity of the cue" affects FOK judgments.

Among the other answers, choice "Individuals report high RC if the memory accessed to answer a question had a large amount of accessible information associated with it." can be eliminated because the amount of information associated with an answer affects FOK judgments, not RC judgments. Choice "Brain scans of individuals performing FOK and RC judgments show that the two processes occur in different areas of the brain." can be eliminated because even if different parts of the brain are associated with each type of judgment, this doesn't support either claim. Choice "Prospective FOK judgments are often associated with high levels of brain activity around the memory retrieval centers of the brain." can be eliminated since there is no evidence that brain activity around memory retrieval means that there is more information associated with the question. And choice "The longer the time period between when an individual studies a topic and when he or she is asked about it, the lower the FOK judgment associated with that question." can be eliminated because time between studying and questioning is not listed as a factor in RC or FOK judgments.

 

Example Question #4 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

In day-to-day functioning, people rely on both memory and knowledge of that memory, referred to as metamemory. For example, a person often cannot immediately recall a name upon meeting someone, but they feel that they know it. This feeling is the result of monitoring memory. Because of this feeling-of-knowing (FOK), most people will continue to search their memory for this name. Once a name is generated, people then monitor and decide if they are confident enough to use that name.

Memory monitoring involves evaluating the ongoing progress of any aspect of memory. Experiments that evaluate memory monitoring typically have individuals make subjective judgments about their memory at various stages of learning and recall. Participants are asked a series of questions. After each question that they answer, they are asked to provide a retrospective confidence (RC) judgment, rating the likelihood that their response is accurate. When participants do not answer a question, they are asked for their prospective FOK judgment, assessing whether they nonetheless feel they do know the answer (for example because they think they may be able to remember it at some point in the future).

Perhaps predictably, RC judgments are highly correlated with actual knowledge of a topic. FOK judgments, however, correlate rather weakly—albeit positively—with actual knowledge. While there are some instances where the FOK is the result of a momentary inability to recall something, more often than not the FOK stems from the sense that one should know something, for example because the field is familiar.

Research has resulted in a general consensus that, when monitoring memory, individuals infer whether a particular response will be, or has been, remembered based on the inputs that are readily available. However, the particular inputs used differ depending on when memory is assessed. Prospective FOK judgments are thought to be based on familiarity of the cue, accessibility of information about the memory, or a combination of the two. In contrast, it is widely accepted that RC judgments are based on the memory-retrieval experience—that is, the “on-line” experience of directly retrieving some previously studied item.

Based on the information in the passage, in which of the following situations would a RC judgment occur?

Possible Answers:

A shopper considers whether the PIN he is about to enter is the correct one.

An individual tries to remember a password for an online application.

A test taker reviews her test for potential calculation mistakes before turning it in.

An individual studying for an exam reviews his notes to see what he needs to review.

A shopper tries to remember the price at which a particular item was advertised.

Correct answer:

A shopper considers whether the PIN he is about to enter is the correct one.

Explanation:

Remember that for any specific question, your strategy should be to go back to the text and read to remind yourself of exactly what the text said about the information being asked about. According to the text, RC judgments refer specifically to the process of monitoring the likelihood that a particular piece of information is correct once that piece of information is retrieved.

The only answer choice that matches this description is "A shopper considers whether the PIN he is about to enter is the correct one.". The shopper has already retrieved a piece of information (a PIN) and is considering whether it is correct before entering it.

Choice "A test taker reviews her test for potential calculation mistakes before turning it in." is close, but is incorrect because while it does deal with whether an already-answered question is correct, it doesn't deal with the probability that a memory is correct, but instead deals with whether the test taker made a careless mistake. Since RC judgments deal specifically with memory recall, this answer choice can be eliminated.

Among the other answers, choices "An individual tries to remember a password for an online application." and "A shopper tries to remember the price at which a particular item was advertised." can be eliminated because the process of remembering itself is neither a FOK or RC judgment. Choice "An individual studying for an exam reviews his notes to see what he needs to review." can be eliminated because it deals more closely with a "feeling of knowledge" judgment as described in the passage.

Example Question #7 : Specific Questions Featuring The Except Structure

In 2004, Jared Diamond published Collapse, a rigorous analysis of why certain ancient societies have perished. His groundbreaking study explored the environmental and historical factors that contributed to the demise of the “Viking colonies” of Greenland, the Polynesians of Easter Island, and the Anasazi of the American southwest. Diamond’s core thesis was that human recklessness and lack of foresight were the major factors in precipitating the ends of these societies. 

Diamond’s work was among the first to seek out the commonalities between deforestation in Easter Island and resource depletion in ancient Greenland. Because he posited that human agency played a key role in determining whether cultures disintegrate or thrive, his message was viewed by many prominent environmental activists as a call to action – societies can remain vibrant providing they make prudent decisions regarding resource management.

However, many critics have claimed that Diamond’s explanations for the extinctions of ancient societies were simplistic, and placed undue blame on the regions’ inhabitants. For example, Terry Hunt, an archaeologist at the University of Hawaii, has claimed that the Polynesian deforestation, which Diamond attributed to the recklessness of the native peoples, was actually caused by predatory rats. Moreover, Hunt has noted that Diamond overlooked the role that European disease played in decimating native populations. If these other factors are taken into account, the issue of blame becomes a far more complex one and some of Diamond’s positions may need to be reconsidered.

According to the passage, all of the following were used by Diamond or Hunt to support their positions EXCEPT:

Possible Answers:

deforestation on Easter Island resulting from animal behavior

deforestation on Easter Island resulting from reckless behavior or lack of foresight

resource depletion in Greenland resulting from reckless behavior or lack of foresight

the spreading of disease by Europeans among some native populations

overuse of pasture land by animals of the Anasazi in the American southwest

Correct answer:

overuse of pasture land by animals of the Anasazi in the American southwest

Explanation:

For this specific style “EXCEPT” question, you need to go back and confirm which four of the answer choices were discussed in the passage. Here you need to make sure they were used as evidence for the two researchers. For "overuse of pasture land by animals of the Anasazi in the American southwest", you learn in the first paragraph that Diamond studied the Anasazi of the American southwest, but you are not told what he thinks specifically resulted in their disappearance. Nothing is stated about overuse of pasture so "overuse of pasture land by animals of the Anasazi in the American southwest" is correct. For "deforestation on Easter Island resulting from reckless behavior or lack of foresight" and "resource depletion in Greenland resulting from reckless behavior or lack of foresight" you learn the work of Diamond focused on “commonalities between deforestation in Easter Island and resource depletion in ancient Greenland” relating to his theory that “human recklessness” and “lack of foresight” were the cause of the disappearance. So both "deforestation on Easter Island resulting from reckless behavior or lack of foresight" and "resource depletion in Greenland resulting from reckless behavior or lack of foresight" were used to support Diamond’s thesis. "deforestation on Easter Island resulting from animal behavior" and "the spreading of disease by Europeans among some native populations" are explicitly given in the third paragraph as reasons for Hunt’s position that Diamond was too simplistic and placed undue blame on the native populations. The correct answer is "overuse of pasture land by animals of the Anasazi in the American southwest".

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