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Study of RHESUS MONKEYS- birth order affecting stimulation level of individual: GRE argument essay


Ssakshijain 28 / 146 87  
Nov 1, 2015   #1
Hi kindly give your feedback on this regarding grammar usage, sentence structure etc. Thank you in advance.

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The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a scientific journal.

"A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation. The study showed that in stimulating situations (such as an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey), firstborn infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol, which primes the body for increased activity levels, as do their younger siblings. Firstborn humans also produce relatively high levels of cortisol in stimulating situations (such as the return of a parent after an absence). The study also found that during pregnancy, first-time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than did those who had had several offspring."

Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.


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The author in the letter deduced about the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation through the study of eighteen rhesus monkeys. This is the clear reflection of post hoc fallacy as we can correlate the stimulation and birth order but we cannot determine if the birth order caused increased stimulation. Here the author failed to provide reliable data for his proposal , thus making the predictions questionable.

Firstly, the author claimed that the first born infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol as do their younger siblings when encountered with the unfamiliar monkey. The secretion of hormone during encounter with unfamiliar faces could be due to anxiety or excitement related to the change in emotional level of the monkeys. It is the tendency of the living body to react to different stimuli which further depends on their perception level. The secretion could be due to anything although we still can find a cause by going through more studies like were the first born babies and their younger siblings were of the same age when they were given the stimulation? Bigger body and elder one tends to produce more of the hormones sometimes . There could also be the difference of the nature between the first born baby and the younger siblings. Most of the time first born babies are more aware and concerned about the surroundings thus, could lead to increased cortisol by seeing the unfamiliar face as a danger. On the other side the younger siblings tend to be careless and less anxious about the surroundings thus, could lead to less cortisol secretion.

Secondly, the author claimed that the first born monkeys produce higher levels when face the situations of meeting a parent after an absence. This again depends on various another factors like the emotional attachment of the baby with the parent stimulating the hormone secretions inside the baby. This also depends on the present situation of the baby about whether he was expecting or not or he got a sudden shock of stimulation. Moreover the author need to confirm if the offspring of a same parent were compared when given the stimulation or not or different parent's off springs were compared?

Furthermore, the baby monkeys can react according to the genetic factors too which may vary in different off springs. Hereditary does play a role in responses of the offspring.

Thirdly the author professed that during pregnancy first time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than those who has several offsprings. This can be true but can not be the only reason because one cannot know about how the body reacts during pregnancy . This depends on the capacity of the body and the stress carried while pregnancy. While first time pregnancy the anxiety or fear is inevitable in most of the cases which can lead to increase level of cortisol hormones and during second or third pregnancy this fear may somehow become less than the first time. Additionally, the body may pass through different stages of stress and shock leading to different levels of cortisol in the body. What goes inside the body one cannot know because if one body is producing high cortisol due to anxiety of pregnancy , one may produce due to energy and high vigor . Also, if the stimulation is already made the first time like in first time pregnancy, it is possible it will produce less cortisol while the second stimulation. The author did not mention whether the first time mothers and second time mother were given the first time stimulation simultaneously or the stimulation was given to one mother only at their first and second pregnancy respectively.

Lastly, the author need to tell whether the monkeys taken for experiment were of the same age and given the same environments? Were all the monkeys equally healthy and had equal level of emotions before the study? Were all the mother monkeys able to cope the pregnancy stress in a similar manner or every body reacted differently? Thus we can see multiple reasons for the cortisol secretion and thus author need to do a more elaborate study.

In summary, I would state to solidify this argument the author should present a far more detailed study relating all the differences mentioned above ; plus the author should carry out the study in a more precise and detailed manner with a large population of monkeys to prove the argument true.
irhame 52 / 50 25  
Nov 2, 2015   #2
In summary, I would state to solidify this argument the author should present a far more far-detailed study relating to all the differences mentioned above; plus the author should carry out the study in a more precise and detailed manner with a large population of monkeys to prove the argument true argument.


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