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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Strengthening Questions

Otoplasty (ear cosmetic surgery) can reshape prominent or protruding ears. A plastic surgeon found that 76% of cosmetic ear surgery last year was performed on men. The plastic surgeon concluded that men's ears are, on average, more protruding and prominent than are women's ears. 

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the above conclusion?

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion. The premise gives us information about men. The conclusion draws a comparison between men and women. Therefore, an answer choice that merely gives us more information about men cannot help us support the conclusion.

Excellent!

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This answer choice confirms the argument's assumption by stating that women and men are equally likely to undergo cosmetic surgery. This means that the people who underwent that procedure reflect the true percentage of those who have the problem. Hence, men's ears are more protruding and prominent than women's are (76% men, 24% women).

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion. The premise gives us information about men. The conclusion draws a comparison between men and women. Therefore, an answer choice that gives us information about people in general, without gender specification, cannot help us support the conclusion.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice could be seen as supporting the above position under the rather questionable assumption that different body parts are correlated in size. That is, that if men's noses are, on average, more protruding or prominent than women's noses are, then the same is true for other body parts - in this case, ears.

However, remember that the correct answer to a Critical Reasoning question should be simple and straightforward, with very few or no assumptions. As there is another answer choice that clearly supports the above position more directly and strongly, it is superior to this one.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion. The premise gives us information about men. The conclusion draws a comparison between men and women. Therefore, an answer choice that gives us information about people in general, without gender specification, cannot help us support the conclusion.

The most common cosmetic surgery among men last year was performed on areas around the nose.
Over 50,000 people underwent otoplasty last year.
The number of people who undergo cosmetic surgery increases dramatically each year.
Men and women are equally inclined to undergo cosmetic surgery to correct aesthetic flaws. 
Men's noses are, on average, more protruding and prominent than are women's noses.