Persuasion or Manipulation?

In Bernito’s  chapter 7 “Persuasion or manipulation?”, it is made clear that specific attributes of a graph are extremely important, and even the smallest changes can redirect the affect it has on people. For instance, Tamar presented a graph about job satisfaction as your age progresses. It had the current satisfaction as well as the expected satisfaction. His graph vs. Collettes graph had a very clear difference though. When Re creating his graph, Collette extended the y-axis to 10 instead of the original 7.8, creating about 7% of the y-axis directed to showing the 7% gap. Tamar presented a very important point, that not truncating your y-axis can make it become hard to really notice the important differences, and it makes them look a lot less substantial. Tamar’s graph on the other hand, had 50% of the graphs y-axis directed to the 7% difference, Really emphasizing the difference between data. It is essentially a way to zoom in on the data, and isolating the main idea. And this doesn’t only apply to this specific graph. Bernito points out that the best way to avoid this is not putting two charts on top of each other, but side by side, creating comparisons and not false narratives.

One key passage that intrigued me was when the double y-axis was discussed. This makes it possible to compare two different topics that may not typically or naturally go together. Having them side by side can give the viewer an idea and establish a relationship between the two. I feel as if the job satisfaction graph were to be presented in this way, or on two separate charts, then it would make it a great deal easier to understand the key difference and not deflect from the main idea. I also agree with the fact that there is a fine line between persuasion and deception, but it is not always a clear line. You may think your graph is getting your data across perfectly, but in reality a couple critiques could change the affect it has on the viewer completely.


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