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GRE - Reading Comprehension - Argument Evaluation

Adaptation, the decrease in responsiveness that follows continuous stimulation, is common to all sensory systems, including olfaction. (more)

Adaptation, the decrease in responsiveness that follows continuous stimulation, is common to all sensory systems, including olfaction. With continued exposure to chronically present ambient odors, individuals’ perception of odor intensity is greatly reduced. Moreover, these perceptual changes can be profound and durable. It is commonly reported that following extended absences from the odorous environment, reexposure may still fail to elicit perception at the original intensity.

Most research on olfactory adaptation examines relatively transient changes in stimulus detection or perceived intensity—rarely exceeding several hours and often less—but because olfactory adaptation can be produced with relatively short exposures, these durations are sufficient for investigating many parameters of the phenomenon. However, exposures to odors in natural environments often occur over far longer periods, and the resulting adaptations may differ qualitatively from short-term olfactory adaptation. For example, studies show that even brief periods of odorant stimulation produce transient reductions in receptors in the olfactory epithelium, a process termed “receptor fatigue.” Prolonged odor stimulation, however, could produce more long-lasting reductions in response, possibly involving structures higher in the central nervous system pathway.

Q1. According to the passage, the phenomenon of olfactory adaptation may cause individuals who are re-exposed to an odorous environment after an extended absence to

A. experience a heightened perception of the odor
B. perceive the odor as being less intense than it was upon first exposure
C. return to their original level of perception of the odor
D. exhibit a decreased tolerance for the odorous environment
E. experience the phenomenon of adaptation in other sensory systems

Q2. The first sentence of the second paragraph refers to “research on olfactory adaptation” that “examines relatively transient changes in stimulus detection or perceived intensity.” The passage asserts which of the following about the exposures involved in that research?

A. The exposures are of long enough duration for researchers to investigate many aspects of olfactory adaptation.
B. The exposures have rarely consisted of re-exposures following extended absences from the odorous environment.
C. The exposures are intended to reproduce the relatively transient olfactory changes typical of exposures to odors in natural environments.
D. Those exposures of relatively short duration are often insufficient to produce the phenomenon of receptor fatigue in study subjects.
E. Those exposures lasting several hours produce reductions in receptors in the olfactory epithelium that are similar to the reductions caused by prolonged odor stimulation.


 

A1. The answer to this question is in the first paragraph. The last line says that after an extended absence from an odorous environment, a re-exposure fails to elicit perception that was felt originally. This explanation matches answer choice B, perceive the odor as being less intense than it was upon first exposure. Other answer choices do not have evidence in the passage to support them. Only B is supported by the last line of the first paragraph 'commonly reported.....original intensity'.

Which of the following hypotheses best accounts for the researchers’ findings? (more)

During an economic depression, it is common for food prices to increase even as incomes decrease. Surprisingly, however, researchers determined that during a depression, for every 5 percent increase in the cost of bread, the lowest socioeconomic class actually increases the amount of bread purchased per capita by 3 percent.

Which of the following hypotheses best accounts for the researchers’ findings?

(A) Not all food costs increase during a depression; some food items actually become less expensive.
(B) Because bread consumption does not increase by the same percentage as the cost does, people are likely consuming more of other food items to compensate.
(C) When incomes decrease, people are typically forced to spend a larger proportion of their income on basic needs, such as food and housing.
(D) People who suddenly cannot afford more expensive foods, such as meat, must compensate by consuming more inexpensive foods, such as grains.
(E) During a depression, people in the lowest socioeconomic class will continue to spend the same amount of money on food as they did before the depression began.

This question asks us to solve a paradox. The passage talks about the changes in food prices during an economic depression. During such times food prices tend to increase while incomes decrease. In one finding it was seen that for every 5 percent increase in the cost of bread, people from lowest socioeconomic class increased the amount of bread they purchased by 3 percent. One would expect that with the increase in the bread price the purchase rate will go down, but here its the other way round. So we need to choose an answer that logically explains why the purchase of bread has gone up despite an increase in its price.

(A) This choice is out as the passage clearly states that the price of the bread has increased by 5 percent. A decrease in other food items does not help us resolve the paradox.
B) If people consumed more of other food items then there wouldn't be an increase in the purchase of bread. This option is stating the opposite of what took place, hence we eliminate it.
(C) This maybe true but it does not help to explain why the bread consumption went up hence, is not the answer we are looking for.
(D) This is the correct answer choice. There is a possibility that an increase in the price of other food items like meat was more than the increase in the price of bread. Hence people purchased more of inexpensive grains than meat as the grain items were still affordable despite the increase in its price.
(E) This is not likely to happen as an increase in food prices will impact the spending habits of the people from low socioeconomic class.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the prevailing aesthetic views (more)

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the prevailing aesthetic views among artists in the United States were shaped by the harsh economic realities of the period, when millions of Americans found themselves unemployed or dispossessed. Not surprisingly, most artists of this period chose to work in socially oriented styles. However, while the Regionalists—led by Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry—embraced a rightist, isolationist ideology, recoiling from the present and seeking to recapture in their paintings America's agrarian past, the Social Realists—among them William Gropper and Ben Shahn—depicted the condition of workers engaged in a class struggle. Both groups built upon earlier traditions in American painting that now assumed a new urgency.
 

Q1. According to the passage, which of the following was true of both the Regionalists and the Social Realists during the 1930s?
A. They sought to recapture a less troubled period in America's history.
B. They developed artistic traditions that were already in existence.
C. Their paintings were deeply affected by the economic hardships of the period.

 

Q2. It can be inferred from the passage that the Regionalists and the Social Realists differed in which of the following ways?
A) The Regionalists were primarily concerned with depicting actual events in history, while the Social Realists were primarily concerned with portraying an idealized future.
B) The Regionalists were primarily concerned with the economic ramifications of the Depression, while the Social Realists were primarily concerned with its social ramifications.
C) The Regionalists lacked a sense of urgency, while the Social Realists pressed for change.
D) The Regionalists tended to romanticize the past, while the Social Realists depicted the past in harsh terms.
E) The political outlook of the Regionalists tended to be more conservative than that of the Social Realists. 

The passage is telling us about two types of artists, the Regionalists and the Social Realists and their art that prevailed in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Their art was influenced by the harsh economic realities of that period. Most artists of this period chose to work in socially oriented styles. The regionalists embraced a rightist, isolationist ideology, recoiling from the present and recapturing the past in their art. The Social Realists captured the condition of workers engaged in a class struggle. Both groups built upon earlier traditions in American painting.

A1. This is a select-all-that -apply question type. The questions ask us to choose the commonalities that exist between the two groups.

A. Incorrect answer choice as the passage starts with 'During the Great Depression.....harsh economic realities of the period'. This obviously shows that the passage is about a difficult period in America.

B. Correct answer choice as we find evidence for this in the last line of the passage, 'Both groups built upon earlier traditions....urgency'.

C. Correct answer choice. We find evidence for this in lines 2-3.

 

The passage cites all of the following as reasons for the inclusion of operatic elements into the rock music genre in the 1970s EXCEPT: (more)

In keeping with the notable incorporation of operatic elements into the rock music lexicon, the genre in the 1970s experienced a significant shift in emphasis away from recording and toward music performance itself. Several factors effected this change. First, the extended length and the moralizing subject matter of songs of the era rendered them less appropriate for radio play and more suitable for public presentation. Additionally, the advent of the concept album, in which multiple tracks revolved around a single unifying narrative or theme, furnished a basis upon which similarly calibrated performances could be enacted. Finally, as PA system technology improved, it became possible to hold concerts with 100,000 people or more, which encouraged artists to craft concerts that diverged from the merely musical toward the experiential. Bands began conceiving of their performances as shows, more akin to musical theater guided by plot and setting than to the traditional concert guided by the omnipresent set-list. Instead of simply playing one song after another, therefore, bands developed full performance medleys revolving around specific motifs, and punctuated by bombastic light shows, costume changes, and other massive stunts. For example, the popular British band Pink Floyd famously built a barrier in the middle of stage during one performance then had it dramatically knocked down mid-show as a promotion for their new album The Wall.

Q1. The passage cites all of the following as reasons for the inclusion of operatic elements into the rock music genre in the 1970s EXCEPT:

(A) Changes in concert equipment changed the way shows could be delivered.
(B) Pink Floyd’s dramatic staging served to promote an influential album.
(C) Shifts in the content of the music contributed to the songs having a more “story-telling” quality.
(D) One medium through which rock songs had typically been delivered to the public became less conducive to the genre.
(E) Artists altered their performances to reflect changes in the modern concert ambiance.

Q2. In the context of the passage, the word “effected” (line 3) most nearly means

(A) influenced

(B) moved forward

(C) transformed

(D) determined

(E) brought abou

 

 

A1. (A) Incorrect answer choice as the passage mentions in lines 8-9 that the PA system technology made it possible to hold big concerts.
(B) Correct answer choice as the passage uses Pink Floyd as an example to show how artists were using massive stunts.
(C) Incorrect answer choice as we find evidence for this in line 7 on how the concerts were taking a narative theme, which indicates that the concerts had a story-telling quality to them.
(D) Incorrect answer choice as we see in lines 4-5 how artists were moving away from radio shows and towards public presentation.
(E) Incorrect answer choice as we find evidence for this in lines 10-11 on how artists were moving towards experiential performances.