QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Some makes of car must be more common in some regions versus other regions.
[the researcher is assuming that people see their own car more frequently in their own regions because more people buy that car in that region. That explains the inaccurate estimate]
REASONING: Car owners overestimate how common their cars are.
ANALYSIS: The researcher has identified one possible explanation for the research findings.
But it’s possible that people simply overestimate how popular their own cars are (without reference to other cars in the region.) People tend to like the things they buy. So perhaps they assume that many other people also buy the cars they bought.
Or maybe people just have trouble conceptualizing the enormity of the car market.
Who knows? There are many different possible explanations supported by this evidence.
- Actually, the argument assumes that people didn’t know the real statistics about cars. Otherwise they might have answered the questionnaire correctly.
- CORRECT. The evidence provides support for the conclusion but that evidence also supports other, competing conclusions.
- It wouldn’t matter if test subjects came from different regions. According to the argument they all should overestimate their own car’s prevalence based on regional differences.
- There isn’t a “set” of premises. There is just one: cars owners overestimate how common their cars are.
- Actually, the statistical generalization was intended. The survey was meant to find out car owners’ estimates of nationwide car ownership. These surveys are generally extrapolated nationally.
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