I'm trying to think of a phrase that describes someone who is in a certain situation and when an outcome out of the norm comes up then he takes the aberrant outcome and generalizes it, believing it to be the normal outcome for that and similar situations. That is, he's forming an general opinion based on that one instance.

Is there an expression which describes that in one or two words? If so, what is it?

  • ???------------ – Honza Zidek Jul 30 '14 at 6:02
  • That sounds like some sort of bias. Could it be as simple as pessimism vs. optimism? Like betting on horses; you can lose 10 ten times in a row and then win once, and now you are full of confidence for the next race when in fact you should really expect to lose again. – Frank Jul 30 '14 at 8:12
  • Jumping to conclusions is the usual metaphor. – John Lawler Jul 30 '14 at 14:45
  • ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME. – Fattie Jul 30 '14 at 15:18
  • there's a common phrase "... you assume too much." It may help depending on what you're up to. – Fattie Jul 30 '14 at 15:19

If I have understood the question correctly (I edited it to make it a bit more clearly about what I think you're asking for), then you are describing generalising from the particular or a hasty generalisation or maybe even jumping to a conclusion.

Wikipedia has

Hasty generalization is an informal fallacy of faulty generalization by reaching an inductive generalization based on insufficient evidence—essentially making a hasty conclusion without considering all of the variables. In statistics, it may involve basing broad conclusions regarding the statistics of a survey from a small sample group that fails to sufficiently represent an entire population. Its opposite fallacy is called slothful induction, or denying a reasonable conclusion of an inductive argument (e.g. "it was just a coincidence").

  • good one, "generalising" is the key here. – Fattie Jul 30 '14 at 15:19

You may be referring to an inconsistent conclusion:

  • Not regular or predictable; erratic: inconsistent behavior.
  • Lacking in correct logical relation; contradictory: inconsistent statements.

Suorce: Collins English Dictionary


I guess Surmiser could be an alternative in your case. It is actually noun for Surmise which means that to infer something with not much of evidence to prove it.

  • im looking for a phrase that describes that kind of thinking. not necessarily a conclusion based phrase but more of a taking one situation and exaggerating it to mean that all other tests of the same experiment outcomes didnt matter. – user86680 Jul 30 '14 at 15:41

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