Misleading vividness


Misleading vividness

Misleading vividness is a term that can be applied to anecdotal evidence[1] describing an occurrence, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, with sufficient detail to permit hasty generalizations about the occurrence (e.g., to convince someone that the occurrence is a widespread problem). Although misleading vividness does little to support an argument logically, it can have a very strong psychological effect because of a cognitive heuristic called the availability heuristic.

Example:

Anne: "I am giving up extreme sports now that I have children. I think I will take up golf."
Bill: "I wouldn't do that. Do you remember Charles? He was playing golf when he got hit by a golf-cart. It broke his leg, and he fell over, giving himself a concussion. He was in hospital for a week and still walks with a limp. I would stick to paragliding!"

This rhetoric permits a kind of hasty generalization when an inductive generalization is a necessary premise and a single (albeit vivid) example is not sufficient to support such a generalization. See faulty generalization.

See also

References

  1. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2007). Informal logic. Retrieved 29 March, 2010. Original work published 1996.

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