Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Audio Technica Guy
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Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:35 am

One thing I have noticed over the years is that jerks tend to do better on arguments. This was made especially clear to me in a recent cycle when I was teaching a very aggressive, borderline obnoxious, moderately intelligent guy and a genius, but very agreeable, mild mannered young girl.

The girl more or less aced games and RC, but often had difficulty with arguments. The guy totally struggled through games and RC, and did about the same or better than the girl on args.

The confounding thing was that when we reviewed the arguments questions, the girl always fully grasped the explanation, whereas the guy often times had no idea what was going on. He questioned my teaching methods and whether or not I knew what I was talking about once.

What I realized was that the girl was approaching the args questions in an agreeable state of mind. That is, her first inclination was to agree with the argument. His first inclination, on the other hand was to always be contrarian.

Recent studies have shown that we are much better at critically thinking about those things that we disagree with than those that we agree with. Look over several recent arguments sections that you have done. I'd be willing to bet that you will find that you did substantially better on those questions where you disagreed with the argument than you did on the arguments that you actually agreed with the conclusion.

So how does this help? I was able to help the girl far surpass the jerk guy by really pushing her to almost get angry at the questions before she started. She was a very polite girl, and at first it kind of shocked her, but I had her think to herself before each flaw based* arguments question "F you A-hole!" And her scores dramatically improved. Knowing that the argument was flawed, and then attacking it, instead of passively approaching it, made a big difference.

When it comes to flaw based arguments questions, a lot of it really is in your frame of mind. If you approach the question knowing that the argument is flawed to begin with, and approach it with a sort of contrarian stance, you will find yourself much more easily seeing how the argument is flawed, which makes the arguments section a breeze.

*flaw based questions are the following question types: flaw, parallel flaw, necessary assumption, sufficient assumption, weaken, strengthen. The great thing about the arguments section is that if you read the questions first you know exactly one of two things before you read the first word of the argument: 1) the argument is flawed OR 2) you don't care because the flaw doesn't matter (and the argument may not be flawed in the first place. All flaw based questions have to be flawed. You can't strengthen or weaken an argument that has no flaws.)

Edit: couple of grammar flaws
Last edited by Audio Technica Guy on Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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soj
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby soj » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:50 am

tl;dr version

Audio Technica Guy wrote:When it comes to flaw based arguments questions, a lot of it really is in your frame of mind. If you approach the question knowing that the argument is flawed to begin with, and approach it with a sort of contrarian stance, you will find yourself much more easily seeing how the argument is flawed, which makes the arguments section a breeze.

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UnamSanctam
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby UnamSanctam » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:08 am

Sounds about right. I'm an arguer, and I tend to do my best on flaw questions (except parallel flaw, but that's a parallel issue, not a flaw issue).

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soj
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby soj » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:21 am

Audio Technica Guy wrote:jerks tend to do better on arguments

Eich, OP is saying you're a jerk! :o

Image

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Diiizzzzoooo
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Diiizzzzoooo » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:31 am

(A) It makes a generalization based on a sample size which may not be representative of the population as a whole.

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Verity
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:41 am

So, skeptics are jerks?

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Helicio
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Helicio » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:54 am

Diiizzzzoooo wrote:(A) It makes a generalization based on a sample size which may not be representative of the population as a whole.


LOLZ

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby FantasticMrFox » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:04 pm

Diiizzzzoooo wrote:(A) It makes a generalization based on a sample size which may not be representative of the population as a whole.

Hahaha :lol:

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suspicious android
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby suspicious android » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:15 pm

Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


They generally come of that way.

I think the attitude thing might be a little bit of an overgeneralization, but there is something there. I tell my students to try to be as contrarian as possible. And there are many, many students who don't do well partly because they read passively and if I ask them a particular conclusion is valid will say something like "Yeah, I guess. It's pretty good." Most of the arguments on the LR section are invalid, so this is a very bad starting point. Some people just have a tendency to accept things that are in print in front of them. I've think I've noticed these people are more likely to have deeply held religious views, but.. I'm not quite willing to draw a causal inference there.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:09 pm

Diiizzzzoooo wrote:(A) It makes a generalization based on a sample size which may not be representative of the population as a whole.



How does commenter misinterpret the OP?

A) mistakes an illustrative example as being the only proof of a general principle.

:)

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:11 pm

Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


I never said that. I said that jerks tend to do better, which I've generally found that to be true. It's also a certain type of jerk though, the "I want to prove everybody wrong" jerk that does the best on arguments, in my experience.

Now, my overall point was that you can train yourself to adopt this sort of mind frame for args, without becoming an IRL jerk either.

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Strange
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Strange » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:12 pm

Diiizzzzoooo wrote:(A) It makes a generalization based on a sample size which may not be representative of the population as a whole.


I hate myself for finding these jokes hilarious :evil:

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Bashy
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Bashy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:13 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:
Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


I never said that. I said that jerks tend to do better, which I've generally found that to be true. It's also a certain type of jerk though, the "I want to prove everybody wrong" jerk that does the best on arguments, in my experience.

Now, my overall point was that you can train yourself to adopt this sort of mind frame for args, without becoming an IRL jerk either.


I'm already an IRL jerk, so if I do worse than -2 on the LR, you'll have to do some explaining.
Last edited by Bashy on Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paratactical
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby paratactical » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:14 pm

soj wrote:tl;dr version

Audio Technica Guy wrote:Men are disagreeable and better at things that need disagreement; women are pussies and like to agree and are good at games.

FTFY

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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:15 pm

suspicious android wrote:
Most of the arguments on the LR section are invalid, so this is a very bad starting point.


While you're right, it's even more extreme than that. You actually can know, from the question, that it's flawed before you even start. So you don't even have to wonder if the argument is flawed. Based on the question, you either know the argument is flawed, or that you don't care about the flaw in the first place, because it has nothing to do with the question.

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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:19 pm

Another example of this principle in action is a little drill I do time to time with my students.

I ask them to read an argument, then I ask them to close the book and state the argument as best they can.

90% of the time they get it it more or less right, with one notable exception. Often they will include unstated assumptions that the argument needed in order to work. Which is kind of hilarious, because people generally struggle with necessary assumption questions, yet it's like they can almost do them unconsciously if they're trying to restate the argument from memory.

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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:33 pm

paratactical wrote:
soj wrote:tl;dr version

Audio Technica Guy wrote:Men are disagreeable and better at things that need disagreement; women are pussies and like to agree and are good at games.

FTFY

ha, no, I've never really found any strong IRL correlation between gender and how they tend to do on sections (I have no idea if there is one or not, but if there is, I suspect it's not particularly strong at all). That's just what these two particular students were doing.

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Verity
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:57 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:
Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


I never said that. I said that jerks tend to do better, which I've generally found that to be true. It's also a certain type of jerk though, the "I want to prove everybody wrong" jerk that does the best on arguments, in my experience.

Now, my overall point was that you can train yourself to adopt this sort of mind frame for args, without becoming an IRL jerk either.



You must know a lot of jerks and their exact LR scores. Do you work for LSAC? I know they did a similar study on jerks and cognitive advantages relating to standardized tests.

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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:19 pm

Verity wrote:
Audio Technica Guy wrote:
Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


I never said that. I said that jerks tend to do better, which I've generally found that to be true. It's also a certain type of jerk though, the "I want to prove everybody wrong" jerk that does the best on arguments, in my experience.

Now, my overall point was that you can train yourself to adopt this sort of mind frame for args, without becoming an IRL jerk either.



You must know a lot of jerks and their exact LR scores. Do you work for LSAC? I know they did a similar study on jerks and cognitive advantages relating to standardized tests.


Um, no, I don't work for LSAC, but I have taught right around 1000 or so people and know their LR scores. 1000 might be a bit smallish, which is why I kept qualifying my statements with "in my experience."

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Verity
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:54 pm

The tl;dr part of your post:

Audio Technica Guy wrote:When it comes to flaw based arguments questions...If you approach the question knowing that the argument is flawed to begin with, and approach it with a sort of contrarian stance, you will find yourself much more easily seeing how the argument is flawed, which makes the arguments section a breeze.


Umm, no shit. You know it's flawed because the question tells you it's flawed, not because you're a jerk. Are you saying jerks are better at reading the questions? Also, this anecdotal evidence (or confirmation bias) doesn't really establish any grounds for thinking that "jerks" are any better on LR, on average.

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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby youknowryan » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:20 pm

Audio Technica Guy wrote:
Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


I never said that. I said that jerks tend to do better, which I've generally found that to be true. It's also a certain type of jerk though, the "I want to prove everybody wrong" jerk that does the best on arguments, in my experience.

Now, my overall point was that you can train yourself to adopt this sort of mind frame for args, without becoming an IRL jerk either.


As I read through the first 5 or so replies it became clear to me that many of the people proffering their thoughts need to work on the RC skills since they did not seem to comprehend what you are driving at. Your advice is excellent: go in looking for a reason to prove the stimulus wrong and your score will go up. Makes sense.

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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:22 pm

Verity wrote:The tl;dr part of your post:

Audio Technica Guy wrote:When it comes to flaw based arguments questions...If you approach the question knowing that the argument is flawed to begin with, and approach it with a sort of contrarian stance, you will find yourself much more easily seeing how the argument is flawed, which makes the arguments section a breeze.


Umm, no shit. You know it's flawed because the question tells you it's flawed, not because you're a jerk. Are you saying jerks are better at reading the questions? Also, this anecdotal evidence (or confirmation bias) doesn't really establish any grounds for thinking that "jerks" are any better on LR, on average.


Jesus dude, chill out.

A) My point was simply this, that I have noticed over the years that people who are argumentative for the sake of being argumentative tend to do a bit better on arguments. I had always kind of brushed this off, and then when I delved into it with these two particular students, I think I kind of found out a possible explanation as to why. I've taught a lot of people, and myself have made a 180 on a real test and a ton on diags. I've done every LSAT question that has ever been released like 4-5 times. I'm nto saying that to brag, but just saying that generally people like for experienced teachers to post on here. People who have helped actual students improve 10 - 20 points. The fact that forcing the girl to kind of "think like a jerk" helped her was the point I was trying to make. The girl in question went from -6 on average on arguments to averaging -1 within a week of adopting this strategy. Now, I don't mean, in any way, to claim that people will see such a big response in general, but I think it's a helpful technique for those that have a generally "go with what they say" type of attitude about life, because for such people it is often hard for them to constantly be critical of reasonable sounding arguments.

B) I wasn't using my two students as proof of what I was saying, just as an illustration. It's a relatively well known fact of cognitive biases that we think better critically when we're attacking something than when we're neutrally judging it and WAY better than when we actually agree with what is being said.

C) I said three times that it is the questions that tell you it's flawed. Did you read anything past the word "jerk" before you flipped out?
Last edited by Audio Technica Guy on Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheTopBloke
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby TheTopBloke » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:22 pm

Too... much... thinking.

Audio Technica Guy
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Audio Technica Guy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:24 pm

youknowryan wrote:
Audio Technica Guy wrote:
Verity wrote:So, skeptics are jerks?


I never said that. I said that jerks tend to do better, which I've generally found that to be true. It's also a certain type of jerk though, the "I want to prove everybody wrong" jerk that does the best on arguments, in my experience.

Now, my overall point was that you can train yourself to adopt this sort of mind frame for args, without becoming an IRL jerk either.


As I read through the first 5 or so replies it became clear to me that many of the people proffering their thoughts need to work on the RC skills since they did not seem to comprehend what you are driving at. Your advice is excellent: go in looking for a reason to prove the stimulus wrong and your score will go up. Makes sense.


yeah, it's like they saw the word jerk and just stopped reading. Perhaps the word jerk was too offensive and I should have phrased it simply as "someone who is argumentative and contrarian to an extreme level.

Yes the title could be clearer, but overly nuanced and qualified titles are A) too long and B) just sound weird.

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Verity
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Re: Success on Arguments (LR) Really Is Attitude.

Postby Verity » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:30 pm

Maybe I'm just a jerk. Deal with it.


Read: you gotta learn TLS humor.




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