June 2007 LSAT, II, #24

Section 2, #24, of the June 2007 LSAT is a hell of a lot easier than it might look. The facts are fairly straightforward: car companies use survey data and direct interaction with buyers to figure out what car consumers want, and "designer interaction with consumers is superior to survey data." Okay, fine. The difficulty arises when we get to the question part: "The reasoning above conforms most closely to which one of the following propositions?"

What's that supposed to mean?

It's much easier than you think. "Conforms" means "fits." So the question is really asking, "which one of the following best fits with the facts above?" In other words, "which one of the following must be true based on the facts above?"

We've seen a couple Must Be True questions already in this section.  (Here and here.) I'll repeat what I said there:

This question type can be tricky when you first start studying for the LSAT, because you might be inclined to pass up answer choices that seem “too obvious.” Don't do that! Be open to the possibility that you're actually plenty smart enough to punch this test in the face. On a question of this type, all you're looking for is the one answer that has been proven by the speaker's statements (and nothing more than the speaker's statements–outside information is not allowed.) The correct answer does not have to be the speaker's main point, nor does the speaker's entire statement have to be related to the correct answer. If any part of the speaker's statement proves that an answer choice has to be true, then that's your answer. This question type is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

I can't predict the answer here, because there's no glaring flaw in the logic.  Rather, I just have to check out each answer choice and pick the one that, as conservatively as possible, has been proven by the information provided.  What I mean by “conservative” is that I'm going to avoid any answer choice that is even slightly speculative.  The correct answer is not something that is probably true, or something that I know to be true in real life–it's something that is true according to the facts on the page.

Okay, so we've got our strategy.  Let's look at the answer choices.

A)  Well, let's see. We know that car companies solicit consumer information in not one but TWO ways when they design cars. First, they do consumer surveys. Then, they have they designers directly interact with consumers. The point of doing this is to design cars as successfully as possible. So this answer is supported by the facts. I'd be happy choosing this, as long as I can get rid of B-E.

B)  "Traditionally"? Who said anything about traditionally? I don't see how this could possibly be the correct answer unless the facts said that car companies have "historically" or "traditionally" or "for decades" conducted extensive postmarket surveys. We simply don't know this to be true--the whole survey thing could be a recent innovation, as far as we know. This answer is speculative, so it's out.

C)  This is almost definitely true in real life. But we're not doing real life here--we're doing the LSAT. The facts we were given say nothing about specific niches. Therefore this cannot be the correct answer.

D)  The given facts say nothing about whether a feature will be "appealing" or not. We know that car companies think they can improve their products by talking to their consumers (see answer A), but we don't know that the designers, left on their own, wouldn't create very "appealing" products. All we know for sure is that car companies believe  their products will be better with consumer input. This is speculative, so it's out.

E)  Nah, no way. There's nothing in the facts that differentiates between internal and external components of cars. I think B-E are all terrible. A had support from the given facts, therefore A is our answer.