Chapter 17:
STATISTICAL REASONING
- Practice -


Multiple Choice:
Click on the button next to the answer you wish to select. Your results will be displayed immediately in the question's text box.

No. of Questions = 10

In this exercise, you will be given short statistical arguments moving from correlation to causality to read. Your task is to identify the fallacy committed.

The fallacies include:

There are confounding variables.
It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studies to a larger study.
The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.

1 Over 80% of violent criminals have watched a violent TV show before they committed their act of violence. Thus, violence on TV is the cause of violent crime.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
2 When a local bank offered to give every student with a 1000 on his/her SAT $1000, the SAT scores increased dramatically. Thus, the bank's offer was the cause of the increase in the SAT scores.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
3 The Church of the Grand Enlightenment has had its whole congregation praying for world peace for over a month and the incidents of international conflict have decreased.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
4 Apparently women do not have the ability to be orchestra conductors since only a small percentage of orchestra conductors are women.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
5 The incident of teenage pregnancy has steadily increased since the 1960s. So has the number of students required to take sex education classes. Thus, sex education has caused the increase in teen pregnancies.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
6 A new survey conducted from 1993-1996 using "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brochaw" found that TV news focused on crime more than ever with 5% of all news stories about crime.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
7 Americans have an increasing appetitie for violence as witnessed by the steadily increasing number of television sets being sold.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
8 The Stock Market suffered its second largest decline on record due to a loss of investor confidence.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
9 Companies are pouring billions into computers and other high-tech machinery that should make workers more efficient. Such improvements occur, though, in the service industries in which productivity is harder to measure. Yet, according to the Commerce Department, productivity rose just 0.6 percent in the spring quarter.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.
10 Fairfax County found that 35 percent of the sprinklers failed to activate under 7 pounds of pressure. However, the manufacturer maintains that the 7 psi threshold for passing or failing does not reflect typical water pressure in sprinkler systems.
a) There are confounding variables.
b) It is unclear which variable is the cause and which the effect.
c) It is unreasonable to generalize from the sample actually studied to a larger study.
d) The variables actually measured are not good stand-ins for the variables of interest.



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