Misleading Statistics Fallacy Examples in Media, Real Life, Politics, News & Ads
Misleading Statistics Fallacy
Misleading Statistics Fallacy Definition
The misleading statistics fallacy is a type of statistical error that occurs when someone tries to use statistics to prove something. Still, the numbers are not accurate or have been manipulated in some way. A person might manipulate the numbers by excluding certain data points or including irrelevant information.
This can be done intentionally or unintentionally, and it often leads people to make false conclusions about a topic.
Statistics are used to summarize data. A statistic is a number that summarizes some information about a population or sample; when you use statistics, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of your data and how you’re using them.
Statistics is a great tool for analyzing data objectively. However, statistics can also be a misleading tool in the wrong hands. In fact, there’s a term called the “fallacy of the misleading statistic,” which is used to describe the use of statistics in a misleading manner.
Misleading statistics are common and can sometimes be misleading. Here are some statistics examples:
- A company that is selling a product with a 90% success rate
- This company is using the fact that 10% of people do not respond to the product in order to make the product seem more effective
- A president who says his approval rating is over 50%. The president is only including the people that agreed with him, not including the people who disagreed with him
- For example, doctors have used the phrase “1 in 25” to scare patients about dying from a heart attack.
Misleading Statistics Fallacy Examples
Misleading Statistics example in Philosophy
Examples of Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Philosophy:
This fallacy is based on the fact that you can’t make assumptions based on one statistic alone without looking at other factors first.
- The argument that “the average woman is taller than the average man.”
- The argument that “men are more likely to commit a crime than women.”
- The argument that “women have a lower IQ than men.”
Misleading Statistics Fallacy Real-Life Examples
Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Real Life:
There are countless examples of how statistics can be misleading that are not just limited to the healthcare industry. When it comes to educating people about medical decision-making, it is easy to use statistics to sway them to an opinion that may not be the best for them.
Some examples include;
- The average person spends 5 hours a day on social media
- The average person spends 2 hours a day on social media
- The average person spends 10 minutes a day on social media
Misleading Statistics Fallacy Examples in Media
Examples of Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Media:
A study shows that 50% of people who drink alcohol are at risk for heart disease.
The media reports this statistic as a fact, without mentioning the sample size or other important information.
This is an example of misleading statistics fallacy in media
Misleading Statistics Examples in Advertising
Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Advertising:
Statistics can confirm or illustrate a point, but it is important to be able to recognize when they are misleading. There are many examples of where statistics can be misleading.
One example of this is when a company advertises that their product is the best out there, but statistics show that people who use it are less satisfied than those who don’t.
Other examples include
- A company advertises that their product is “98% effective”.
- The company’s product has a 2% failure rate, but the ad doesn’t mention this.
- If you buy the product and it fails to work for you, then you might feel misled by the advertisement.
Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Politics
Examples of Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Politics:
A politician might say that their opponent has a 90% chance of winning an election when the actual odds are 50%.
Another example could be a person who says they have been to 100 countries but only counts trips to places like Mexico and Canada as “countries.”
Misleading Statistics Fallacy examples in Movies
Examples of Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Movies:
Misleading Statistics Fallacy Examples in Literature
Examples of Misleading Statistics Fallacy in Literature:
In “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator Nick Carraway presents evidence that Jay Gatsby is a wealthy man with a lavish lifestyle.
The reader believes this to be true until Nick reveals in Chapter 9 that he has been living next door to Gatsby for two years and has never seen him come or go from his house.
This example of misleading statistics fallacy demonstrates how one can manipulate data to make it seem like something is more likely than it actually is
Misleading Statistics Fallacy Examples in News
Examples of Misleading Statistics Fallacy in News:
A study found that 1 in 4 people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
The article title is “1 out of 4 Americans will get cancer.”
This statistic is misleading because it doesn’t consider that many cancers are cured and not fatal, so that the number might be closer to 1 in 10 or even lower.