AAMC P/S SB #31 and 53

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AAMC P/S SB #31 and 53

Post by newensj » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:31 pm

I understand why the correct answers are correct, but in general, can you imply causation when it is an experimental study?
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Re: AAMC P/S SB #31 and 53

Post by NS_Tutor_Mathias » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:10 pm

#31 does not suggest causation, fairly clearly. This is a question more about falsifying the hypothesis: Finding a case that proves that it cannot be so. We don't know how it is, we just know how it is not.

#53 surprisingly, despite the wording, doesn't imply ultimate causation: It says that there is EVIDENCE OF causation, but there is also evidence of me being great at basketball - and much more evidence of me being terrible at it. Evidence of one thing does not imply that there is no evidence of the opposite. Finding some evidence of inadequate sleep causing hunger means that there is some evidence for that causal relationship, and by no means suggests that the matter is settled or that anyone is certain.

In this case, the passage makes a reasonable chain of causation:
Greater activation of the right anterior cingulate cortex -> hunger

Sleep deprivation -> greater activation of the right anterior cingulate cortex

Therefore, Sleep deprivation -> hunger.

That is of course not the only possible explanation, but there is evidence of this causal relationship.

(Also, experimental studies are exactly the ones that are most often used to establish causality - both by first convincingly linking one event to the next, and then by trying to falsify our supposed causal link. In this case, you could for example find that some other emotion is also found when the right anterior cingulate cortex is activated, or you could find that under some conditions people feel hungry without this activation.)

I hope this helps. I know this can be kind of hairy to untangle and this particular subject (experimental methods) is fraught with a lot of dogma and popular conceptions that can get in the way of reasoning clearly about it. So don't be afraid to keep asking until you feel comfortable with the ideas.
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