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Critical reasoning requires systematic thinking, analysis of each part and understanding the elements of reasoning. Questions based on critical reasoning frequently feature in a number of competitive exams. Students often get confused between ‘drawing conclusions’ and ‘making inferences’. Let’s understand the difference between the two.
Inference is something that uses facts to determine other facts. It is done by examining the facts of a given situation and determining what those facts suggest about the situation. For example, if you come with a knife in your hand, I probably would infer that you mean to do some harm to me. Inference can be accurate or inaccurate, justified or unjustified, logical or illogical.
A conclusion is the next logical step in the information series. A statement requires two conditions to serve as a conclusion. First, it must be logically derived statement from the information given. Second, It must not be inferred from the given statement. For example, if you see that my watch is broken, it can’t be repaired now and I know the shop that has the same watch. So, conclusion would be that I would buy that watch.
So, inference is an educated guess while conclusion is more about logically deriving the next step.
Similarity between the two is that both require figuring out what is not specifically stated in the text.
Some Basic Examples :
INFERENCE:Process of using observation and background knowledge as well as other known premises to determine a conclusion that makes sense.
1.Sally arrives at home at 4:30 and knows that her mother does not get off of work until 5. Sally also sees that the lights are off in their house. Sally can infer that her mother is not yet home.
2.Ravi knows that Goa is known for its crabcakes and Bob is going to a seafood restaurant in Goa for dinner tonight. Ravi can infer that the restaurant will likely serve crabcakes.
3.Neeta’s toddler is in bed upstairs. She hears a bang and crying. Neeta can infer that her toddler fell out of bed.
4.Ravi hears a smoke alarm and smells burnt food . Ravi can infer that his neighbor burnt her breakfast.
5. A famous psychology experiment conducted by Dr. John B. Watson demonstrates that people like animals, can be conditioned - trained to respond in a particular way to certain stimulations. Watson gave an eleven – month – old baby named Albert a soft , furry white rat. Each time Albert tried to stroke the rat , Dr. Watson hit a metal bar with a hammer. Before long, Albert was afraid not only of white rats but also of white rabbits , white dogs , and white fur coats . He even screamed at the sight of a Santa Claus Mask.
Which of the following inference can be True or False?
1. Albert connected the loud of the hammer striking the metal bar with the white rat.(T/F)
2. Albert had been familiar with rats before the experiment.(T/F)
3. Dr. Watson did not like small Children.(T/F)
4. Before the experiment, Albert was not afraid of white rats.(T/F)
5. Albert was afraid of unexpected loud noises from the beginning.(T/F)
6 . If he had seen a black fur coat, Albert would have screamed.(T/F)
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR INFERENCE QUESTIONS:
1.Don’t jump into the Assumption Hunt. These questions usually don’t carry much in the way of glaring assumptions. Instead, these questions generally test your ability to derive a conclusion from stated premises.
2.Knock out answers with extreme wording. Inference answers typically do not use only, always, never, best or any strong words . The right answers on Inference questions will generally use more qualifiers and less extreme language.
3.Try to fully understand what the passage’s point is and the exact reasoning so that if the question asks you to extend that reasoning, you are able to accurately do so.
4.Use the process of elimination. Inference questions typically have two or three good answers. The best way to tackle these questions is to gradually eliminate the possible answers until you have one or two and then choose the last one by scope.
By: Jatin Sharma ProfileResourcesReport error
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