Faulty Generalizations

🧠 Psych - 102 / 200


How is it going for you?

Let’s talk about the Fallacy of Faulty Generalizations.

What is it?

Trying to generalize a big population, based on conclusions formed from just a small sample.

Examples -

My favorite example of this is the story of how people used to believe that there were only white swans because & no black swans ever existed. But it was proven wrong!

Side note:- There is also a theory of Black swan proposed by statistician Nassim Taleb. It’s also super interesting. I will leave a link to it in the references if you would like to read more about it.

Where does it occur?

Let’s say you are performing some experiment to understand the audience (or your customers) better. The results may vary for different people because of different factors such as countries, gender, age.

Therefore, your conclusions can be different.

Why do I need to know?

Inductive reasoning – i.e., drawing probable conclusions based on evidence – is vital in many fields of study. But we need to draw conclusions based on reliable evidence.

Takeaways: -

  1. Use a sample that is representative of the wider population. The sampling techniques you use will be important in this respect.

  2. Make sure generalizations are based on a large enough sample.

References & Studies: -

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory (Black Swan Theory)

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faulty_generalization

  3. https://getproofed.com/writing-tips/fallacy-faulty-generalization/

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