GMAT Verbal Practice, Critical Reasoning
An avid television viewer is statistically more likely to take sleeping pills at bedtime than a person who enjoys listening to classical music but does not watch television as a habit. Clearly, listening to classical music just before bedtime contributes to a more restful night’s sleep, whereas watching television before bedtime has the opposite effect.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the above argument?
- Reading a book before bedtime contributes to restful sleep more than listening to music does.
- People who enjoy classical music typically like to read just before bedtime.
- Sleeplessness is more common among people who watch late-night television than among people who do not.
- Engaging in a bedtime activity that is mentally stimulating often interferes with a person’s ability to fall asleep.
- A silent environment is less conducive to restful sleep than an environment with calming ambient sounds.
The argument concludes that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between listening to classical music and getting restful sleep. But this conclusion is based merely on the statistical correlation cited in the first sentence. One way to discredit the conclusion is to provide evidence that something else results in restful sleep. That’s exactly what choice (B) accomplishes, by pointing out another possible cause: bedtime reading. The correct response is (B).