sarahmichigan: (Default)
[personal profile] sarahmichigan
I hadn't heard this term before, but it might be because it's similar to or just a variation on the "hasty generalization." If you think that all homosexual men are screaming drag queens and all lesbians are leather dykes on bikes because you've seen one Gay Pride parade on TV, you're falling victim to the "Spotlight" fallacy.

I see people falling into this fallacy all the time, most recently, stereotyping all Muslims as violent because of a few bad apples who are in the media spotlight.

More discussion on the fallacy here:

Date: 2007-03-08 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't heard this term before either, but I can see the utility of distinguishing this from Hasty Generalization. With Hasty Generalization, isn't the implication usually that the sample is primarily random but too small ("I met someone who called themselves an X and they believed Y because they were an X, so all Xes must believe Y")? With Spotlight, the sample isn't random, it's based on the individual or group attracting the most attention.

Date: 2007-03-08 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, the main component of "hasty generalization" is that the sample is too small to generalize from.

Date: 2007-03-08 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Did you say you were reading Innumeracy? I think it mentioned this in conjunction with gambling, where all the winning slot machines in a casino make a big ruckus, while losing happens quietly.

Date: 2007-03-08 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep, I read it back in Jan. or early Feb.

Date: 2007-03-08 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's also related to Perceptual Bias, and is well-documented. People tend to perceive data that supports their preconceptions while discounting data that contradicts it. Another related problem is one of believing that anecdotal information is equivalent to a statistically valid universe. Example: Peter, Paul, and Mary all had X happen to them; but there is no evidence supporting that Peter, Paul, and Mary are typical cases (rather than statistical outliers whose statistical oddity simply makes them memorable).

Date: 2007-03-08 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Or "confirmation bias." Yep. I may make that a separate entry sometime.

Date: 2007-03-08 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Or with thinking that all Christians are screaming dominionist evangelical fundies.

Date: 2007-03-08 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Did P. tell you we watched some Bill Hicks standup last night? Very funny man.

Date: 2007-03-15 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
thought you might enjoy this piece about logic

Date: 2007-03-15 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
thanks. I've bookmarked it.

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