Persuasion or Manipulation?

Chapter seven, Persuasion or Manipulation? The Blurred Edge of Truth, begins with a disagreement between a boss and an employee. The employee altered her bosses graph to show the entire data set. Her boss wasn’t pleased with her revisions because it eliminated the point the graph was supposed to be expressing. Berinato uses this disagreement as an introduction to his point. Berinato states that it is difficult to determine between persuasion and manipulation in graphs.  Berinato writes that “used too aggressively or recklessly, persuasion techniques…can become deceptive techniques.” There is a very gray area when it comes to the format of graphs. The most common techniques of graphs are the truncated y-axis, the double y-axis, and the map.

The truncated y-axis is the type of graph the boss from Berinato’s introduction made. She eliminated numbers from the graph by zooming in on the point she was trying to make.  By doing this she was able to highlight the curve in order to make her point more evident. A double y-axis includes two vertical scales to fit different data sets. The benefit behind this graph is it is easier to make a comparison based off this type of graph. A map includes geographical boundaries to get a point across. When formulating a graph, a person must consider is they are being honest in the creation of their graph. Would their graph mislead someone? To ensure that the graph is useful for persuasion and not manipulation the graph must be evaluated to determine whether it clearly expresses an idea, or if it alters an idea. I think the point Berinato is trying to make is important because many graphs are created to insight fear or a sense of urgency in a viewer which would fall under an expression of manipulation. As I make a graph I must be careful to make an unbiased graph and make sure to communicate clearly the true data given.

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