Publication Details

Areni, C. S. (2010). Representative but irrelevant arguments in advertising. Proceeding of the ANZMAC 2010 Conference (pp. 1-7). New Zealand: University of Canterbury.


A representative but irrelevant conditional is an if-then statement that implies, but does not logically establish, a link between evidence and a product claim. For example, in the argument "If kids are cramped, then they will start fighting. Model X has plenty of room. What's left to fight about?" the product claim (i.e., no fighting) does not follow from the conditional, which states what happens when there is a lack of space, but logically establishes nothing about what happens when there is plenty of space in a car. In a lab experiment, subjects exposed to an actual 30-second TV ad based their acceptance of the claim more on an irrelevant but representative conditional than on a conditional that logically linked the evidence to the claim.

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