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The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that OG16 SC129

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OG16 SC129
The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual that, in turn, create unconscious physiological response.
A) that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses.
B) that creates unconscious physiological responses in turn.
C) creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses.
D) to create, in turn, physiological responses that are unconscious.
E) who creates unconscious physiological responses in turn.

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GMATwithCJ
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Solution

Sentence Analysis

The sentence says that the use of lie detectors is based on some assumption. The assumption is that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual and that these emotional reactions, in turn, produce unconscious physiological responses.

The important aspect here is understanding the meaning of the sentence. Some students assume that in "that, in turn, create..", ?that? refers to individual. The cause of this wrong assumption is that the student is not paying attention to the meaning of the sentence. Once you pay attention to the meaning of the sentence, you?ll understand that an individual cannot logically create physiological responses. This understanding will raise a question: "Then, what is creating these responses?". The answer is "emotional reactions".

Now, the question is: "Can ?that? refer to emotional reactions?". The answer is Yes. Noun modifiers can jump over other essential noun modifiers and, in some cases, over other verb modifiers as well. So, ?that? can jump over "in an individual", a prepositional modifier modifying the verb ?produces?, to modify ?emotional reactions?.

Once you understand that ?that? refers to ?emotional reactions? and not ?individual?, you?ll realize that we need a plural verb ?create?.

The given sentence, thus, has no logical or grammar errors.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct .

(B) Incorrect . Incorrect. For the below reasons:

  1. Singular verb "creates" doesn?t go with plural subject "emotional reactions".
  2. Also, preferably, the placement of "in turn" should be closer to the verb that it is modifying. Placing it at the end makes understanding the meaning a bit difficult.

(C) Incorrect . ?creating? is a verb-ing or present participle modifier. Since it occurs without a coma here, it can modify ?individual? or ?emotional reactions?. Logically, it is clear that it should modify ?emotional reactions?. So, as far as the modification goes, I don?t think there?s any problem. Then, why is this choice wrong?

As you can see, the only difference between the correct choice ?A? and this choice is that in this choice ?that create? (a relative clause) has been replaced by ?creating? (present participle). In general, they can replace each other to modify nouns. However, in some case, they cannot replace each other. The present sentence is one of those cases.

For example:

  1. The girl who fell from the stairs broke her leg.
  2. The girl falling from the stairs broke her leg.
  3. The person who broke the glass was punished later.
  4. The person breaking the glass was punished later.

In the above sentences, as you may ?feel?, sentences 2 and 4 don?t feel right. If you feel so, your feeling is correct. While sentences 1 and 3 are perfectly fine, sentences 2 and 4 are not. The reason is that when we are talking about a single completed event, we need to use the relative clause instead of a present participle.

Similarly, one cannot replace below sentences with each other; they have different meanings.

  1. A man who drives on the footpath is crazy
  2. A man driving on the footpath is crazy.

The first sentence lays out a general rule that anyone who drives on the footpath is crazy while the second sentence seems to talk about a specific man driving on the footpath currently.

Thus, we cannot always replace a relative clause with a present participle. Let?s look at the simplified version of the sentence with option A and option C:

  1. lying produces emotional reactions that, in turn, create physiological responses.
  2. lying produces emotional reactions creating, in turn, physiological responses.

While the first version communicates clearly the sequence of events (First ? lying produces emotional reactions. Second ? emotional reactions create physiological responses), the second version seems to indicate the lying produces emotional reactions that are creating physiological responses from the get-go. The sequence of events is thus distorted in the second version. Therefore, option C is incorrect.

(D) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. The use of infinitive "to create" indicates that lying produces emotional reactions with a purpose to create physiological responses. Clearly, this meaning is illogical since lying cannot have a purpose to achieve something!
  2. Also, it is obviously overly wordy to write "physiological responses that are unconscious" rather than "unconscious physiological responses".

(E) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. "who" can only refer to people, not things or ideas. Thus, as is, "who" refers to individual in this option. Thus, it seems to indicate that individuals create unconscious physiological responses. Clearly illogical.
  2. Also, as explained in option B, the placement of "in turn" closer to verb "creates" is preferred.
answered Jun 5 by Beginner (1 point)
gmatclubforum
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Top Pick from GMAT Club Forum

Dear sayantanc2k and NitJ ,
I have a few observations to share about this conversation.
First of all, with all due respect to sayantanc2k 's intelligence & experience on this site, I would caution both of you on the use of the term " verb-ing ." This is a sloppy, imprecise term, and I believe sloppy terminology leads to sloppy thinking. In fact, the -ing form of a verb can have three mutually exclusive roles in a sentence:
1) part of a present progressive verb ,
e.g. He was creating a new model for the sale department even as the folks working under the old model were floundering .
2) a gerund
Creating a diverse stock portfolio is the best way to avoid tremendous losses in a crisis .
3) a present participle
The man creating the disturbance was arrested.
The president died unexpectedly, creating a power vacuum.

I think making the distinctions in terminology forces us to notice and understand more deeply these grammatical distinctions. Also, I think the imprecise terminology can be very confusing to non-native speakers who are still trying to make sense of all these complex forms.
I agree with what sayantanc2k about this question, but I would add: the participial modifier poses some profound challenges. It is the only modifier that can be either a noun or a verb modifier, depending on context & usage. Thus, if the rest of the sentence is not perfectly clear, the participle modifier is ripe for logical ambiguity, only because it has so many potential uses.
Here's (C) as it, without the comma.
The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses.
Here, without a comma between " individual " and " creating ," the Modifier Touch Rule creates the strong expectation that the participle is acting as a noun modifier, modifying the noun it touches, " individual ." The " in turn " after this is jarring, and makes this reading of the modification more ambiguous. The first reading is logically incorrect, and the the second interpretation is ambiguous. Either wrong or ambiguous---not a good choice either way. That's why (C) is wrong.
Here's (C1) as it, with the comma added.
The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual, creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses.
Here, it's clear that the participle does not apply to the noun " individual ." That much is clear. Here, we could interpret the participle as a verb-modifier modifying the action of the preceding clause, or we could view it as a noun-modifier modifying the subject of the clause, " lying ." In fact, there's not a sharp distinction in meaning between these two, so this distinction is not helpful. Overall, this could be a plausible correct answer, but the question doesn't give us this.
Remember that if we have
[subject][verb][comma][participle]
then it may be that the participle is a verb-modifier modifying the action of the clause, or it may be that the participle as a noun-modifier modifies the subject. In this sentence, there is essentially no difference meaning, but that's not always the case.
Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
answered Jun 5 by Beginner (21 points)
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