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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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(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.
• 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.

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.

B

(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".