||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Anecdotal evidence. (Discuss) Proposed since October 2014.|
Misleading vividness (also known as anecdotal fallacy) is anecdotal evidence describing an occurrence with sufficient detail to permit hasty generalizations about the occurrence. 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.