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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Weakening Questions

A journalist discovered that drugs whose clinical trials are financed by drug companies usually display better results in those trials. The journalist hypothesized that the reason underlying her discovery is that drug companies, which manufacture the drugs, tend to present positive results so as to avoid negative publicity for the drugs.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the journalist’s hypothesis?

Superb!

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This answer choice weakens the journalist's conclusion by presenting an alternate explanation for the positive test results: drug companies only test drugs that they're optimistic about in the first place.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice strengthens the conclusion, but you are required to weaken it. By stating that the drug companies advertise in the same publications that the results appear in, this answer choice supports the idea that they are only interested in creating a good public image for the drug.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice strengthens the conclusion, but you are required to weaken it. By stating that the drug companies manipulate information that might put their product in a negative light, this answer choice supports the idea that they are only interested in creating a good public image for the drug.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither strengthens nor weakens the hypothesis. The fact the clinical trials have to be financed is quite obvious, but more importantly, it doesn't say anything about the drug companies' intentions, or how they conduct their trials. Focus on the journalist's hypothesis and look for a statement that undermines it.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither strengthens nor weakens the hypothesis. The manner in which a clinical trial is conducted is irrelevant since it is too general a statement and does not favor or undermines the journalist's hypothesis.

Drug companies finance clinical trials only for drugs with higher chances of succeeding in those trials.
Drug companies advertise their products in the same publications in which the results of drug trials are published.
Clinical trials are very expensive and often cannot be carried out without being financed.
To conduct an accurate clinical trial, a very large number of subjects must be tested and closely monitored to preserve neutral conditions.
Drug companies tend to downplay drugs’ side effects in their commercials.