necessary

evergreenhomeland

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello everyone:

How to understand "necessary" in the following sentences?

Suppose, for example, psychologists want to explain why some people start smoking. Researchers might examine the possibility that some individuals are particularly prone to risk taking (an internal explanation) or that some individuals experience a lot of peer pressure (an external explanation) ---or that both a disposition towards risk taking and situational peer pressure are necessary (a combined explanation)


I have shortened the original sentence in the following way. Does "necessary" mean "true"?
Researchers might examine the possibility ---or that both a disposition towards risk taking and situational peer pressure are necessary (a combined explanation)



The source is from Chapter 1 of the book Psychology and Life(18th Edition) by Richard J.Gerrig Philip G.Zimbardo.

Thanks in advance
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, necessary does not mean true, it means required.

    In the context of this hypothesis, the researchers are postulating that peer pressure and a gung-ho attitude must both exist before someone will start to smoke.
    It means that if neither of these, or only one of them, is present, the person will not start to smoke.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    You can't replace necessary with exist, but you could replace are necessary with exist, but that would change the meaning of the sentence a little.
    Of course you could take the view that the original sentence is exaggerating and that your change would improve it. :)
     

    evergreenhomeland

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks for your help.

    That is because it is difficult to understand it in my mother tongue.
    In my mother tongue, it is sort of "the possibility that both are required. that does not make sense.

    I noticed the way how you native speakers understand it. "It means that if neither of these, or only one of them, is present, the person will not start to smoke."


    If I reword it in my way, what that difference is as you implied?
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    "the possibility that both are required. that does not make sense.
    That's because the word possibility only applies to the first suggestion. The researchers might examine A.the possibility that some individuals are particularly prone to risk taking or B. that some........peer pressure, or C. Both A+B
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I disagree, FF. All three suggestions have "that" in them, in parallel, not just the first "the possibility that", but also the two "or that" parts. All three "that"s attach to "possibility". Researchers are considering three possibilities:

    1) The possibility that people start to smoke if they are prone to risk-taking.
    2) The possibility that people start to smoke if there is peer pressure.
    3) The possibility that people start to smoke only if both the above are present together.

    In mathematical logic we have the concept of a condition being "sufficient" for something, or "necessary", or "necessary and sufficient".
    The researchers are considering whether either of the two conditions (peer pressure and proneness to risk taking) is sufficient or whether both are necessary.
     

    evergreenhomeland

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    To Edinburgher :

    Thanks for your kind explanation.

    For non-native English speakers, we always forget to take a look at the underlying logic structure of the whole sentence to get the meaning of a specific word.
    :)

    I do not know whether formal English sentences always written or organized this way?


     
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