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After Class Practice Set 2 - Q8 and Q34
emily_5557
#1 Posted : Wednesday, May 26, 2021 2:44:27 AM
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Hi! I had trouble understanding the explanation for the answer for Q8 (Passage 2) on the After Class Practice Set 2. I understand that from the passage we know that higher systolic blood pressure is a marker of higher stress. From the question stem, I thought when they stated "SES during infancy was positively associated with systolic BP", that this meant that upward mobility (increase in SES) is correlated with an increase in blood pressure (I know it seems counterintuitive but that's what I understood from "positively associated". The answer explanation says that "upward mobility from infancy to adolescence is associated with lower stress". Wouldn't that mean that the SES during infancy would be negatively associated with blood pressure? - but this isn't what the question stem said via my interpretation so I might just be misunderstanding.


A second question, I'm not sure I fully understand the answer explanation for Q34 for Passage 6, I'm not too sure how "improved adherence to human rights" is least consistent with cultural relativism. If any elaboration could be given that would be very helpful.

Thanks!

INSTR_Sydney_132
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 27, 2021 6:52:05 PM
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Hi Emily - let me tackle question #8 first...

In the passage, we are told about a relationship between upward mobility (increasing SES) and systolic BP whereby higher SES during infancy is associated with a reduced systolic blood pressure at age 18. As you noted, the passage uses systolic BP as a marker of physiologic stress - so we can conclude that increasing SES is associated with reduced stress.

However in the question stem, we are asked to postulate an alternate situation whereby SES during infancy is positively associated with systolic blood pressure. As you noted, this relationship now suggests that higher SES during infancy is associated with higher stress. Therefore, we are going to look for the answer that best links high SES with high stress, or low SES with low stress.

The appraisal view of stress refers to the process by which individuals evaluate and cope with a stressful event. When stressful events are evaluated as being a threat, individuals are more likely to experience negative psychological and physiological effects of stress.

Answer D is the only answer choice that links high SES with high stress as it states that individuals are less likely to believe that they can handle threatening situations (ie. they have a more severe appraisal of stressful events and subsequently experience more of the negative physiologic effects of stress).

Answers A and B both associate low SES with high stress (as they appraise events as being more threatening). Answer C is incorrect because it doesn't directly answer the question pertaining to the appraisal view of stress, whereby your stress response differs based on how evaluate a potentially threatening situation.
INSTR_Sydney_132
#3 Posted : Thursday, May 27, 2021 7:15:19 PM
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To answer question #34 - we don't really need to rely on information from the passage. This is a tricky MCAT question because it is intentionally quite vague! From the question stem, we are told that proponents of globalization (which from the passage is defined loosely as increased international trade) claim that this will lead to better adherence of human rights.

The five basic human rights (ie. the right to life, freedom from slavery, freedom from torture and degrading treatment etc.) are in fact a Western cultural construct. If we consider more diverse cultural traditions, such as Sharia law and female circumcision, these practices challenge the cultural foundations of human rights by providing alternative means of understanding the individual and their role in the broader community.

If proponents of increased global trade and interaction claim that this will lead to improved human rights (ie. stopping practices that are accepted in many traditional cultures), this would be most consistent with concept of ethnocentrism whereby we are judging the practices of another culture against our own - or what we consider to be 'right'.

To answer this question, the best answer will be the one that is the opposite of ethnocentrism. The opposite of ethnocentrism is in fact cultural relativism, where we base our understanding of cultural practices relative to the social norms accepted in that culture.
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