Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 3: Verbal; #22 (p. 57)

30

The author of the passage mentions the classical

The author of the passage mentions the classical conception of free will primarily in order to In the 1980s, neuroscientists studying the brain processes underlying our sense of conscious will compared subjects’ judgments regarding their subjective will to move (W) and actual movement (M) with objective electroencephalographic activity called readiness potential, or RP. As expected, W preceded M: subjects consciously perceived the intention to move as preceding a conscious experience of actually moving. This might seem to suggest an appropriate correspondence between the sequence of subjective experiences and the sequence of the underlying events in the brain. But researchers actually found a surprising temporal relation between subjective experience and objectively measured neural events: in direct contradiction of the classical conception of free will, neural preparation to move (RP) preceded conscious awareness of the intention to move (W) by hundreds of milliseconds. Blank: argue that earlier theories regarding certain brain processes were based on false assumptions, suggest a possible flaw in the reasoning of neuroscientists conducting the study discussed in the passage, provide a possible explanation for the unexpected results obtained by neuroscientists, cast doubt on neuroscientists’ conclusions regarding the temporal sequence of brain processes, indicate the reason that the results of the neuroscientists’ study were surprising

4 Explanations

3

Bilal Farooq

I dont comprehend the passage at all.. and what is this question testing? Main idea?

Oct 7, 2016 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Bilal! While this could possibly fall under the category of main idea questions, I'd say it's better described as a passage structure question in which you're asked how one part of the passage relates to other ideas mentioned.

Oct 8, 2016 • Reply

7

Tanvi Sengupta

Is the video explanation available?

Sep 14, 2015 • Comment

Hannah Baker, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Tanvi, if you're not seeing the video above, your browser might be forcing "https". Try changing the web address to "http" in the address bar, and the video should show up :D

Oct 5, 2015 • Reply

chandrika karumuri

The video is still not showing up .

Aug 2, 2016 • Reply

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Akshay! Sorry for any confusion, but it looks like there is not a video explanation linked to this practice problem. That said, if you have a specific question about the problem, please let us know, and we'd be happy to help :)

Aug 2, 2016 • Reply

10

Gravatar Carolyn Shasha, Magoosh Tutor

Hi! I'd be happy to answer for Chris :)
Choice B is definitely tempting here. The passage states that the experiment results were "in direct contradiction of the classical conception of free will." However, this is not the same as saying that the results were in contradiction with the neuroscientists' reasoning - in fact, we were previously told that the neuroscientists' conjectures were correct (that W precedes M). So we have to be careful here not to equate the neuroscientists' reasoning with the classical conception of free will. Because of this, B is not the best answer choice.

Nov 1, 2013 • Comment

7

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

The passage says that researchers observed a phenomenon that was "in direct contradiction to the classical conception of free will." We can infer from the passage that such a conception holds that W will precede RP. However, the results of the study were the opposite (RP preceded W), which is surprising. This matches best with (E).

Apr 15, 2013 • Comment

sigh ai

Hi,Chris,I wonder why the answer B which is "suggest a possible flaw in the reasoning of neuroscientists conducting the study discussed in the passage" is incorrect.Can u do me a favor to explain it? Thank you very much.

Oct 26, 2013 • Reply

pinaki singhar

this is helpful. I agree that E is the best answer. But please advise on - what is wrong with C?

Dec 8, 2018 • Reply

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Pinaki,

Let's take a look. C says:

"Provide a possible explanation for the unexpected results obtained by neuroscientists."

The phrase "the unexpected results obtained" makes sense: the neuroscientists did not expect RP to happen before W. The passage tells us that this result is "surprising," so we know that it is unexpected.

But the problem with C is that the "classical conception of free will" does not explain this result. We are told that the result is in contradiction with the classical conception of free will. Therefore, the classical conception of free will does not explain the result, and thus C does not work.

Dec 11, 2018 • Reply

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