Misleading vividness

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Misleading vividness (also known as anecdotal fallacy)[1] is anecdotal evidence describing an occurrence with sufficient detail to permit hasty generalizations about the occurrence.[2] It may be used, for example, 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.


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!"
Person A: "Seat belts reduce the possibility to get hurt in a car accident"
Person B: "My uncle drove his old car way too fast, the car rolled 5 times in a field, he fell out of the side window and miraculously had no injuries. If he had worn a seat belt, he might have been hurt more!"

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[edit]


  1. ^ "Logical Fallacy: The Anecdotal Fallacy". Fallacyfiles.org. Retrieved October 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2007). Informal logic. Retrieved 29 March, 2010. Original work published 1996.