- Read the Question (Every question)
- Go through the text and underline evidence
- Read the answer and eliminate the outliers
- (easiest to eliminate contradictory conclusions)
- Using the underlined evidence and examples, prove each conclusion. Ask yourself “is this another piece of evidence? Or is this proved and strengthened by what’s in the text?”
- Remember to ignore bias and disregard answers that may be true in the real world, but are not supported in the text.
This passage deals with how spending time on the computer, as well as playing violent games, can influence brain activity and consequently influence behaviour. The author explains that firstly, spending a large amount of time on the computer can lead to antisocial behaviour. From this, the content that you are engaging with can have further impacts on your behaviour. The author believes that the fact that things can be undone on a computer game filters into how the players view reality. This is with specific regard to death of a video game character, and how someone cannot ‘respawn’ in real life once they have been killed. The author provides evidence for their beliefs by indicating that there are studies that show less activity in the pre-frontal cortex of teenagers who are “screen obsessed”.
Now, we are able to look at each answer and decide whether it is a conclusion of the passage:
A. Brain structure is altered by environmental factors:
Statement A is referring to altering of brain structure, whereas the passage speaks about the alteration of brain activity. The physical structure of the brain does not change, rather which areas of the brain are more or less stimulated. In this case, the author states that studies show that the pre-frontal cortex has reduced activity. Statement A is incorrect.
B. People who spend a lot of time playing computer games are the main culprits in knife crime:
Statement B is making a definitive accusation about computer game players. It is important to note that the author is not making a definitive causal relationship between computer game players and violent / knife crime. The author indicates this through using the word “may”. “May” indicates that there is a possibility that the situation can occur, it is not a definite. Statement B is incorrect.
C. There may be a link between use of computer games and violence:
The author indicates that computer games have the ability to change the behaviour and perspective of a player. The author uses the example “people who spend most of their time playing computer games involving killing others, real bleeding to death has no meaning”. The author also provides evidence that there is a reduction of brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain that deals with that deals with the processing of “ideas of sequence, consequences and empathy”. It can then be said that author believes that a result of the players being used to the idea of “undoing” violent acts, coupled with the reduction in their processing of consequences, they may be more prone to commit violent without considering all the consequences and the fact that the person cannot be brought back to life. Statement C is thus summarising the beliefs of the author and therefore Statement C is correct.
D. Young people cannot distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality:
Statement D is a generalisation. It is generalising that all young people cannot distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality. The passage only speaks about teenagers who play computer games. Also, the passage does not discuss their inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. Only that computer games have the ability to influence how the players perceive reality. Therefore Statement D is incorrect.
E. Computer games should not be available for children under 18 years of age:
The passage makes no mention of any age rating that should be put on computer games. Therefore Statement E cannot be drawn as a conclusion that the author wishes to convey. Statement E is incorrect.