Spotlight fallacy:

Perspectival Fallacy
Definition Example
When it is uncritically assumed that every member within a certain category is like those members that receive the most media coverage or public discussion. All the Hispanics I’ve seen interviewed on television are not the least bit shy, so your neighbor Felipe surely can’t be shy!
  Notes
This is a type of faulty generalization. A more detailed treatment of faulty generalizations can be found on the supplementary Inductive Errors page.

Case Study One

Because of the salient drama surrounding abortion clinic bombings, it became easy to erroneously view all abortion opponents as gun-wielding lunatics.


Case Study Two

Some could argue, based on television interviews, that Americans are not at all shy. This would be a erroneous assumption since those too shy to be interviewed are never seen. This is the same type of error that leads to a selection bias in polls if the survey method frightens away or ignores shy individuals.


Case Study Three

Most Japanese regularly watching the media assumed that the 1,000 murders in 2010 in Japan was much higher than in what seemed to be a more peaceful past. However, the number was nearly 3 times lower than the murder rate in the 1950s, and remains one of the lowest per captita murder rates in the world.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: