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1. Hasty generalisation

Alice is lying in bed, scrolling through online profiles, when she stumbles upon the profile of an old acquaintance, Bob. She sees that Bob has moved to a small town and is now posting pictures of picturesque landscapes. Alice jumps to the conclusion that small towns are filled with beautiful places and that Bob’s life must now be luxurious.

As she heads out for lunch at her favorite restaurant, she notices an older woman eating junk food and seems healthy. Based on this limited observation, Alice concludes that junk food is not actually unhealthy and orders fries and soda for herself.

On her way back home, Alice sees a motorcycle rider speeding down the road. This young rider reinforces her belief that all motorcycle riders are young, reckless, and fast.

Alice’s conclusions may seem naively formed, but in reality, this type of hasty generalization is a common human tendency. These conclusions are based on a small sample size of data and can lead to mistaken beliefs. To arrive at an accurate conclusion, it is important to seek out confirming or disconfirming evidence about the subject. Rather than jumping to conclusions, it is better to approach limited information with tentativeness and to investigate further. This approach helps to mitigate the risks associated with forming conclusions based on limited information.

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