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Resolve a conflict | Worked example

Example video demonstrating one way to approach questions that ask you to select a choice that contains info that would resolve a conflict in the stimulus.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Kai Burley
    ANSWERS

    (A) Residents of area L typically value aspects of living conditions different from the aspects of living conditions that are valued by residents of adjacent areas.

    (B) Between the times that the two surveys were conducted, the average living conditions in L's country had substantially declined.

    (C) Optimal living conditions were established in the survey by taking into account governmental policies and public demands on three continents.

    (D) Living conditions in an area generally improve only if residents perceive their situation as somehow in need of improvement.

    (E) Ten years go the residents of area L were not aware that their living conditions were below the national average.
    (6 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • blobby green style avatar for user A A
    Question Type:
    Explain Discrepancy

    Stimulus Breakdown:
    Fact 1: 10 yrs ago, survey showed town L was below nat'l average living conditions, but most of them were satisfied.
    Fact 2: new survey shows town L is same as nat'l average, but most of them are dissatisfied.

    Answer Anticipation:
    Given that area L people were satisfied when they were UNDER the national average, why are they dissatisfied now being AT the national average? Normally, we don't try to predict exactly what the answer will be on paradox questions, but there's only two options I'd see here: 1. Area L is happier being an underdog, having something to complain about 2. The national average is way crappier than it was ten years ago. Being AT a low standard is worse than being slightly below a good standard.

    Correct Answer:
    B

    Answer Choice Analysis:
    (A) "Adjacent areas" is out of scope.

    (B) Yes! If we imagine the national living conditions having a numerical score, we could say that ten years ago the national average was 80, and so area L was slightly below 80. If, now, the national average has substantially declined, it might now be a 50. If area L is now AT the national average, it has a lower standard of living than it did ten years ago.

    (C) We don't care about how they decided on optimal living conditions. This does nothing to explain why L was happier ten years ago vs. now.

    (D) This would explain why living conditions haven't improved in area L, but it doesn't explain why they seem to have gotten worse (or more specifically, it doesn't explain the DROP in satisfaction from area L's residents)

    (E) Someone might take this and spin a story that NOW they DO know they're AT the national average and they are dissatisfied (because they've always thought of themselves as ABOVE the national average). But we just added like three of our own assumptions to make that story work.

    Takeaway/Pattern: The paradox wants us to think that going from BELOW average to average is an INCREASE. But the average is not a fixed reference point. So since it could be traveling up or down, you can't judge an absolute standard of living merely by reference to a relative idea like "how it compares to an average".
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Lilian Tomah
    For this question, Choice B can also be seen as: what assure's us that it's the answer? we don't know how the living conditions for L country had been.. And Choice E makes more sense in terms that logically possible that area L wasn't aware of their living conditions being below the average. Please help me understand it better.
    (3 votes)
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    • boggle green style avatar for user jopang
      Hope this will help.
      For Choice E, we can only get the reason why the residents were satisfied ten years ago. But we cant know the reason why the residents report general dissatisfaction now.
      And for Choice B, although we cant get any information about the country's average, we can still know that's the same standard no matter how it changed. And ten years ago, the condition of L was slightly below but its same as the national condition now. We can't assume their condition was improved. So, when they are dissatisfied, we can assume that standard must be lower.
      For example, yesterday, you earned 10 dollars and the average of your team is 12,you might think that's ok. But today, you earned 6, the average of your team is 6, you might think that's hard to take. Because how much you made was less than yesterday.
      (4 votes)

Video transcript

- [Instructor] A survey taken ten years ago of residents of area L showed that although living conditions were slightly below their country's average, most residents of L reported general satisfaction with their living conditions. However, this year the same survey found that while living conditions are now about the same as the national average, most residents of L report general dissatisfaction with their living conditions. Which one of the following, if true, would most help to resolve the apparent conflict between the results of the surveys described above? So the conflict, this is 10 years ago, 10 years ago, and this is this year, this year. And if we say, well let's say conditions, conditions at L. So 10 years ago they were slightly below average but people were satisfied, so satisfaction. Satisfaction. I'll write okay over here. But then this year it seems like they've gotten, at least superficially maybe, gotten better, at least more comparable to the peers, to the surrounding areas, so they've gone from below average to average. But now this year, they're not as satisfied. Not as satisfied, or let me say general disatisfaction, so not okay. So although it looks superficially like maybe things have at least relatively gotten better, but they've gone from being roughly satisfied to not satisfied. What explains this conflict? Residents of area L typically value aspects of living conditions different from the aspect of living conditions that are valued by the residents of adjacent areas. So, I can kind of maybe make an argument that this could kind of resolve it, especially if the survey of living conditions isn't comprehensive and if it's not measuring all the dimensions that might make someone satisfied or not. This would say the thing that's driving satisfaction, those variables, those conditions aren't necessarily, for area L, aren't necessarily the ones being measured here so I kind of could, this could start to explain it. It's not very strong so I'll just put a little squiggly, I'm hoping for something stronger, so I'm gonna squiggly outline that one. Let's look at all the choices actually. Choice B: Between the times that the two surveys were conducted, the average living conditions in L's country had substantially declined. So this one actually makes a lot of sense. So let's say that this is average conditions in the country. So L conditions and then let's say L satisfaction. So this is before and then this is now. I'm gonna put some numbers here. Let's say we assume this statement B is true. Between the two times that the two surveys were conducted, the average living conditions in L's country had substantially declined. So let's say the average conditions went from nine to five on a scale of 10. Let's say before L's conditions were slightly below average so let's say they were eight and now they became average. So even though relatively it seems better, they've gone from below average to average, on absolute terms things have gotten worse so it makes sense that maybe their satisfaction here might have been a nine but now their satisfaction here might be a five. So it makes sense, complete sense, why their satisfaction might go down, even though their relative conditions might have improved slightly because their absolute conditions got worse. So I like this explanation, very clear one. Let's look at the other choices. Optimal living conditions were established in the survey by taking into account governmental policies and public demands on three continents. Well that doesn't really resolve the conflict. It might give me a little bit more confidence in how the optimal living conditions were considered. It doesn't seem to really solve the conflict. Living conditions in an area generally improve only if residents perceive their situation as somehow in need of improvement. Well, that might have explained why living conditions didn't improve in that area but it doesn't explain that your relative conditions got better but your satisfaction went down. B does that very clearly. Ten years ago the residents of area L were not aware that their living conditions were below the national average. So, that could play into it a little bit. Maybe they weren't aware of it and now, but it still doesn't fully explain it that well because now they are at the national average. So you would think that now, even if they might be aware, they're like well hey, things have relatively improved so why am I more dissatisfied? And we're now at average even if ten years ago we weren't so it seems like we're on the right trajectory. So this one doesn't really resolve the conflict either, at least nowhere near as well as B does. If B does it I can think of it in a very tangible way. It resolves it very very clearly.