Hasty Generalization: Definition & Examples of Hasty Generalization Fallacy

What is hasty generalization fallacy? You may have heard of hasty generalization but you may not be aware of what it is. In this article, we are going to be taking a look at the meaning of hasty generalization as well as finding out what it is used for and how it works. We will then be looking at a variety of examples to further grow our understanding of how hasty generalization works.

Hasty Generalization

Hasty Generalization Definition

What Is Hasty Generalization?

Hasty generalization is a type of logical fallacy that is used to generalize an experience by using examples rather than evidence. This type of fallacy might also be referred to as a hasty induction or an over-extension.

You might also think of the hasty generalization as jumping to a conclusion and it should be seen as a type of informal fallacy. This type of fallacy can commonly lead to the listener or reader being given stereotypes or misinformation.

When a conclusion is reached by way of a hasty generalization, it will not be logically justified nor will it contain evidence that is unbiased. When an argument is based on a hasty generalization it will always move from a specific point to a general one. The argument will take a small specific idea and attempt to create a more general idea based on that small idea.

Hasty Generalization Examples

Now that we have a good idea of what hasty generalization is, we can take a look at some examples to further demonstrate how it works.

  • When viewing a person’s social media page, you will be confronted with lots of photos of them smiling and in happy situations. It would be easy to assume from this that the person has a great and fulfilling life. This is a hasty generalization since this cannot be concluded simply from a small selection of photographs.
  • Statistics used in advertising can lead to hasty generalization. A great example of this is when an advert claims something along the lines of ‘four out of five hairstylists recommend this product.’ We do not know how many people were surveyed or how they were selected. The advert uses hasty generalization to its advantage.
  • When applying for car insurance, you will likely get a lower premium if you are a middle-aged woman and the reason for this is that the car insurance companies will make a hasty generalization that younger males are more likely to have an accident and therefore require a payout.
  • If a friend of mine eats a lot of fast food but is healthy, we could make a hasty generalization that fast foods are in fact healthy. This is not true and the person’s good health might be attributed to drinking plenty of water, eating a lot of fruit or doing regular exercise.

Conclusion

Hasty generalization is a form of the fallacy which is used to make a more general assumption based on a small piece of specific information. This is often used accidentally but is sometimes done purposefully too. Many people are more familiar with hasty generalization being referred to as jumping to a conclusion.

Hasty Generalization Infographic

Hasty Generalization: Definition with Useful Examples of Hasty Generalization

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