IMAT 2011 Q20 [Arguments | Left Handed]

87% of the world population are right-handed. The human world is organised to make success in life easier for the majority. Left-handed people should therefore be considered as having a disability and receive appropriate support.

Which one of the following, if true, weakens this argument?

A. Amongst top scientists, sportsmen, actors, musicians and politicians the percentage of left-handed people is much higher than 13%.

B. Left-handed people have poorer spatial skills which makes them more likely to have car crashes and other serious accidents.

C. Left-handed people are more likely to have health problems such as allergies, depression, epilepsy and sleeping disorders.

D. Hand tools, musical instruments and scissors are designed for use by the majority.

E. Many left-handed people were forced to write with their right hand when they were at school.

Steps:

  1. Find the Argument
  2. Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
  3. Eliminate easy options
    These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)
  4. Determine which answer strengthens or weakens the argument THE MOST

The argument, in this case, is easy to find, it is that left-handed people should be considered as having a disability and receive the appropriate support. Before we even look at the possible answers, it is obvious that to weaken the argument, the easiest thing to do is prove that being left-handed is not a disability and can be advantageous.

A. If this was true, it would mean that among the best in these fields, there is a disproportionate amount of left-handed people. How can we tell this? If there was a room of 100 scientists for example, normally we would expect 17 to be left-handed if there was an equal representation of the left-handed and right-handed populations. This answer says it is not the case, it states that there is a higher amount than 17%, meaning there is a disproportionate amount of left-handed people among these top performers. This would weaken the argument that being left-handed is a disability because it would appear they achieve better than right-handed people. Therefore it is the A is the right answer.

B. This option strengthens the argument. It is giving a correlation between left-handed people and poor spatial skills.

C. This also strengthens the argument because it correlates health issues to being left-handed. This is especially strengthening because health issues are more measurable, and it is easier to quantify the data to prove that they are indeed linked.

D. This could potentially strengthen the point of the author. If all these tools were made to be used by right-handed people, it would put left-handed people at a disadvantage. Therefore it would be beneficial for left-handed people to have access to an appropriate support (like left-handed tools).

E. This does not weaken the argument because regardless of whether you are forced to write with your right hand or not, you are innately born left-handed. This does not mean that we cannot be as good or better at a skill with our weaker hand, but it means that you cannot choose (or be forced) to be right or left-handed.