"Can Affect/Influence" = Causation?

shakenbake021
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:40 am

"Can Affect/Influence" = Causation?

Postby shakenbake021 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:43 am

Hi! I have question about LSAT terminology. Sorry if this is common sense!

Could "A may/can affect B" or "A influences B" be equated as a causal relationship? If so, is that always the case? And what about "A leads/can lead to B"?

Example: PT62 (Oct10), Sec4: Q24
Answer choice (B) says that the study indicates that arthritis sufferers's beliefs about the causes of pain may affect their assessment of the intensity of that pain.

Can you eliminate this A.C. on the grounds that you can't conclude a causal relationship based on the correlation given in the stimulus?

I appreciate any input. Thanks!!

Manhattan LSAT Noah
Posts: 746
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:43 am

Re: "Can Affect/Influence" = Causation?

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:32 pm

"Can affect" or "may influence" are basically saying that there MIGHT be some sort of causal relationship, so you can't "equate" it. Also, "affect" and "influence" are pretty soft verbs - you can affect something but not cause it (though you'd be causing an effect). You can't properly conclude such a relationship from the stimulus you mention, (particularly since the stimulus provides evidence that a purported correlation doesn't exist, and the wording of the (B) actually pulls it away from the specific subjects discussed in the stimulus).

If you're wondering, there's a long discussion of (B) here.

shakenbake021
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:40 am

Re: "Can Affect/Influence" = Causation?

Postby shakenbake021 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:25 pm

Manhattan LSAT Noah wrote:"Can affect" or "may influence" are basically saying that there MIGHT be some sort of causal relationship, so you can't "equate" it. Also, "affect" and "influence" are pretty soft verbs - you can affect something but not cause it (though you'd be causing an effect). You can't properly conclude such a relationship from the stimulus you mention, (particularly since the stimulus provides evidence that a purported correlation doesn't exist, and the wording of the (B) actually pulls it away from the specific subjects discussed in the stimulus).

If you're wondering, there's a long discussion of (B) here.


Thank you so much, Noah! I actually read the forum discussion before posting (that's what got me thinking about the causal relationship in the first place). I guess I misunderstood mshermn's reply. So, answer choice (B) isn't implying causation when it states "can affect." Mshermn was just saying that richtailkim was committing that flaw in his own interpretation of (B)?

Also, is giladedelman saying (B) would have been right if it addressed time intervals, instead of intensity?
Mshermn seems to be saying that there's no support that these arthritis sufferers' beliefs can affect anything-- including the time intervals--but I wasn't sure. Which reasoning do you agree with?

Lastly, I know you mentioned that "influence" and "affect" don't necessarily imply a causal relationship (it depends on the context of the stimulus?), but does "A leads to B" imply causation?

THANK YOU, NOAH (or anyone else that can help me out)!!!

Manhattan LSAT Noah
Posts: 746
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:43 am

Re: "Can Affect/Influence" = Causation?

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:37 pm

shakenbake021 wrote: "A leads to B" imply causation?

Yes, this does.

I've got a ton of other questions on that forum right now (Oct. LSAT crush!), so maybe someone else will pick up this one here, or post your question in that forum thread and Matt or Gilad will answer. Sorry - it's just so involved, I don't think I have the brain power on a Friday!




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