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Representativeness

Imagine that as a part of a hypothetical study, a life-span researcher finds among a sample of adults aged 55 or above that owning a car is related to both poorer physical health and social isolation. On the surface, these findings may seem counterintuitive or surprising. After all, owning a car during the latter years of life should foster a connection to family, friends, and one’s larger community, in turn leading to better health and a greater sense of social connectedness. Indeed, if these findings do strike the reader as surprising, then likely you are guilty of applying this hypothetical study’s findings to the broader population of adults aged 55 or above. To be fair, reflexively applying these findings to the broader population of adults ...

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