Nov 6, 2019
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Williams syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, is caused by a deletion from the 7th chromosome. A child with Williams syndrome has a characteristic appearance (described normally as elf-like), is extremely social, musical, shows strong linguistic skills, and displays a highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions. Williams syndrome patients were administered a version of the Preschool Racial Attitude Measure (PRAM), a typical assessment of racial and gender stereotypes. The results are shown in figure 1. What conclusion can be drawn regarding gender and racial bias in decision making based on this study?

Study Graph

  • (Choice A, Correct) The neural mechanisms for gender and racial stereotypes can be neurogenetically dissociable.

  • (Choice B) There is a singular pathway that supports the neural mechanisms for both gender and racial stereotypes.

  • (Choice C) The preservation of a gender based stereotype suggests that diminished amygdala reactivity may be related to race-role but not sex-role stereotype.

  • (Choice D) The lack of social disinhibition in William’s individuals may account for the diminished amygdala reactivity to and perception of social threats.

    So, I think the graph is showing that with decreased amygdala expression, that the participants have the same gender bias level, roughly, but have decreased racial bias. To me, this seems like amygdala function is correlated with racial bias expression. Using this logic, can anyone explain why Choice C is wrong? I think B and D are wrong because the data suggest that there is two separate pathways, one that is related to amygdala function.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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I struggled with this one too. I first eliminated C and D because they assume the differences are caused by the amygdala even though there is no evidence in the passage or the graph about stereotypes being related to the amygdala. B doesn't work because the results for the control group were very similar for sex and gender stereotypes.
 
Nov 6, 2019
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I struggled with this one too. I first eliminated C and D because they assume the differences are caused by the amygdala even though there is no evidence in the passage or the graph about stereotypes being related to the amygdala. B doesn't work because the results for the control group were very similar for sex and gender stereotypes.

In the paragraph, it states that there is a "highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions" with Williams Syndrome. When we compare the two groups, it shows a major difference in response with the control group that has a normal functioning amygdala and Williams Syndrome participants that have the "highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions", when we look at racial attitude. Wouldn't this show that the amygdala is related to the race-role pathway and not the sex-role stereotype pathway, since when we almost "knocked out" amygdala response, it greatly reduced the racial attitude % stereotype consistent responses.

Also, if the control group had two different values for sex and gender stereotypes, wouldn't that point two different pathways, using your logic? I was assuming two different pathways due to the amygdala function only changing the consistent responses seen in the racial attitude section.

Are you stating that the amygdala is not implicated because the change in racial attitude could be due to extremely social, musical, shows strong linguistic skills, and/or displays a highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions, as opposed the amygdala being implicated in the change? Wouldn't the amygdala still be implicated in (suggestive of) playing a role in the change we see in racial attitude, even though there are multiple factors that change between control and participants with Williams Syndrome.
 
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Oct 14, 2019
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In the paragraph, it states that there is a "highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions" with Williams Syndrome. When we compare the two groups, it shows a major difference in response with the control group that has a normal functioning amygdala and Williams Syndrome participants that have the "highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions", when we look at racial attitude. Wouldn't this show that the amygdala is related to the race-role pathway and not the sex-role stereotype pathway, since when we almost "knocked out" amygdala response, it greatly reduced the racial attitude % stereotype consistent responses.

Also, if the control group had two different values for sex and gender stereotypes, wouldn't that point two different pathways, using your logic? I was assuming two different pathways due to the amygdala function only changing the consistent responses seen in the racial attitude section.

Are you stating that the amygdala is not implicated because the change in racial attitude could be due to extremely social, musical, shows strong linguistic skills, and/or displays a highly diminished amygdala response to fearful facial expressions, as opposed the amygdala being implicated in the change? Wouldn't the amygdala still be implicated in (suggestive of) playing a role in the change we see in racial attitude, even though there are multiple factors that change between control and participants with Williams Syndrome.
For your first question, you are assuming facial expression is related to stereotypes and there is no relationship or evidence provided for it. It could have been due to the factor provided or other factors that we don't know so we cannot assume this is due to the amygdala just because it is the only difference provided.

Also, the difference between the control group sex and gender is not significant compared to Williams syndrome so you can assume that they are negligible.
Also, the only thing that graph tells you is that the group with Williams syndrome performed worse in racial stereotypes. So, B doesn't work because there is a clear difference between the control and experimental graphs.
 
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Nov 6, 2019
23
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For your first question, you are assuming facial expression is related to stereotypes and there is no relationship or evidence provided for it.
Also, the difference between the control group sex and gender is not significant compared to Williams syndrome so you can assume that they are negligible.
Also, the only thing that graph tells you is that the group with Williams syndrome performed worse in racial stereotypes. Also, B doesn't work because there is a clear difference between the control and experimental graphs.

For your first question, you are assuming facial expression is related to stereotypes and there is no relationship or evidence provided for it.

- The evidence is when you basically take away that feature to pickup on facial expressions with the amygdala diminished response, it produces worse results with the race category.

Also, the difference between the control group sex and gender is not significant compared to Williams syndrome so you can assume that they are negligible.

- This I agree with, which is why it is like the sex and racial results are likely due two separate pathways.

Also, the only thing that graph tells you is that the group with Williams syndrome performed worse in racial stereotypes. Also, B doesn't work because there is a clear difference between the control and experimental graphs.

- Again, I agree with this. C is what I am having an issue with, not B.

This seems to be a study, where we are taking away traits, relative to the control, in order to determine how they impact a behavior. One of the traits we take away is with the amygdala, so if there is a discrepancy between the two groups, it could be likely be due to the amygdala.
 
Oct 14, 2019
5
0
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
For your first question, you are assuming facial expression is related to stereotypes and there is no relationship or evidence provided for it.

- The evidence is when you basically take away that feature to pickup on facial expressions with the amygdala diminished response, it produces worse results with the race category.

Also, the difference between the control group sex and gender is not significant compared to Williams syndrome so you can assume that they are negligible.

- This I agree with, which is why it is like the sex and racial results are likely due two separate pathways.

Also, the only thing that graph tells you is that the group with Williams syndrome performed worse in racial stereotypes. Also, B doesn't work because there is a clear difference between the control and experimental graphs.

- Again, I agree with this. C is what I am having an issue with, not B.

This seems to be a study, where we are taking away traits, relative to the control, in order to determine how they impact a behavior. One of the traits we take away is with the amygdala, so if there is a discrepancy between the two groups, it could be likely be due to the amygdala.
I agree with you that it could likely be due to the amygdala that is also one of the main reasons why I struggled on it too. But, you cannot assume that racial stereotypes result in a fearful response which results in diminished amygdala response because it is not stated or discussed anywhere. Also, facial expressions were not tested in the experiment so the amygdala won't be involved. In the end, we would only be extrapolating. There are too many uncertainties with C.
 
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Nov 6, 2019
23
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  1. Pre-Medical
I agree with you that it could likely be due to the amygdala that is also one of the main reasons why I struggled on it too. But, you cannot assume that racial stereotypes result in a fearful response which results in diminished amygdala response because it is not stated or discussed anywhere. In the end, we would only be extrapolating. I would also question how the research was done because if PRAM is a written test then facial expression won't even be involved.

Yes, but the answer isn't stating that A causes be B. It is stating A is related to be B somehow. Also, the relationship would likely be that amygdala response to fearful facial expressions leads to the ability to have a consistent racial attitude, or stereotype, since if there is a dysfunction with that amygdala function, we are essentially knocking something out that is upstream to the effect (lack of racial stereotype consistency). I highlighted the words that helped me deduce that C might be correct and maybe that'll help with understanding how C is wrong.

(Choice C) The preservation of a gender based stereotype suggests that diminished amygdala reactivity may be related to race-role but not sex-role stereotype.

If choice C had said that diminished amygdala reactivity is causative of race-role stereotypes, but not sex-role stereotypes, this answer would be disqualified.
 
Oct 14, 2019
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Yes, but the answer isn't stating that A causes be B. It is stating A is related to be B somehow. Also, the relationship would likely be that amygdala response to fearful facial expressions leads to the ability to have a consistent racial attitude, or stereotype, since if there is a dysfunction with that amygdala function, we are essentially knocking something out that is upstream to the effect (lack of racial stereotype consistency). I highlighted the words that helped me deduce that C might be correct and maybe that'll help with understanding how C is wrong.

(Choice C) The preservation of a gender based stereotype suggests that diminished amygdala reactivity may be related to race-role but not sex-role stereotype.

If choice C had said that diminished amygdala reactivity is causative of race-role stereotypes, but not sex-role stereotypes, this answer would be disqualified.
Yeah, but the answer is asking for a conclusion and we cannot with confidence confirm that this experiment is caused by the amygdala without further evidence but Choice A is clearly explained by the graph. Although C might be true, A works better because it is clearly supported by the graph.
 
Nov 6, 2019
23
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Yeah, but the answer is asking for a conclusion and we cannot with confidence confirm that this experiment is caused by the amygdala without further evidence but Choice A is clearly explained by the graph. Although C might be true, A works better because it is clearly supported by the graph.

I think "conclude" means which of the information can be deduced from the paragraph and graph and we are discussing correlation, not causation. It does not say anywhere in answer choice C that one causes the other. The way I interpreted C is that there is a link between the amygdala and the results.
 
Oct 14, 2019
5
0
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Yeah, but the answer is asking for a conclusion and we cannot with confidence confirm that this experiment is caused by the amygdala without further evidence but Choice A is clearly explained by the graph. Although C might be true, A works better because it is clearly supported by the graph.
I think "conclude" means which of the information can be deduced from the paragraph and graph and we are discussing correlation, not causation. It does not say anywhere in answer choice C that one causes the other. The way I interpreted C is that there is a link between the amygdala and the results.
Based on my observation in most of the MCAT passages, you can't assume there is a correlation if it is not explicitly stated or shown. Answer choice A can be concluded because of Williams syndrome's data checks out. But, Answer choice C is kind of a drag because you would have to make some assumptions to get to the answer. Most of the time, the simplest answer ends up being the right answer.
 

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