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