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Critical Reasoning: Boldface Type Questions

Recent research has suggested that best-selling authors gradually lose their ability to excite readers with age. This suggestion is based on the fact that on average, such writers produce the majority of their best-selling works before the age of fifty. However, there is also data showing that authors who began their writing career later in life created more of their best-selling works after the age of fifty. This may indicate that lack of innovation and creativity is not necessarily a product of age, but rather a result of creative exhaustion following too many years of writing.

In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

Incorrect.

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We can eliminate this answer choice according to its classification of the first boldface type portion: although it contains evidence, this evidence supports the argument's favored position (conclusion 2) rather than contradicts it.

Incorrect.

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We can eliminate this answer choice after reading its first part. There's no need to waste time and read the part after the semicolon (;).  Although it contains evidence, the first boldface portion supports the argument's favored explanation (conclusion 2) rather than the explanation it rules out (conclusion 1).

Correct!

[[snippet]]

The first section (premise 2) supports (gives credibility) the position favored by the argument, by stating that there are authors who manage to create their good work after the age of fifty. This supports the position favored by the argument - that it's not necessarily the age of fifty itself that causes writers to stop writing exciting work at some point, but rather that the long years of writing that lead to exhaustion - which is correctly described by the second boldface portion. (conclusion 2).

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

We can eliminate this answer choice according to its classification of the first boldface type portion since the first section is not a claim (conclusion) but a premise.

Because this argument is constructed in such a way that the conclusion is an answer or explanation to the question why do writers lose their ability to excite with age?

Remember that advanced Critical Reasoning questions will not only use the basic terms: conclusion/premise/assumption. Part of your job is to translate the terms of the argument into the terms of the answer choices.

The first contains evidence which contradicts the position favored by the argument; the second is that position.
The first is evidence which supports an explanation that the argument rules out; the second is another explanation dismissed by the argument.
The first is evidence which supports an explanation that the argument rules out; the second is that explanation.
The first lends credibility to the position that the argument favors; the second describes that position.
The first is the claim whose validity is discussed in the argument; the second is evidence supporting that claim.
Why is the conclusion called an explanation in this answer choice?