Persuasion Vs. Manipulation

In “Good Charts,” Berinato teaches the reader about the fine line between persuasion and manipulation. He uses in-depth examples and side by side charts to show the reader how a creator of a graph is manipulating the viewer by changing it in an un-honest way or sometimes unintentionally mislead them. He begins the guide with giving an actual circumstance where two graphs were created on the same information but had a very different conclusion in the end. The graph creator “truncates” the y axis which completely changes the way the viewer interprets the graph. There are 4 types of this kind of deception which are: falsification, exaggeration, omission, and equivocation, which Berinato explains throughout the guide. At the end, Berinato gives the reader tips on how to judge if you are crossing the line while creating your graph which are: “Does it make it easier to see or does it change the idea, does eliminating something change the idea, and would you feel duped looking at the graph yourself.”

The thing that interested me most about the guide was Berinato’s multiple examples of side-by-side graphs. He shows one graph that is deceptive and one graph that is not. It is all the same information but the y axis is distorted so it completely changes the viewers perception of the graph. It is a great example of how a graph creator can “dupe” the viewer all by distorting the y axis to create misleading information. Berinato’s guide to creating non-decpetive or misleading is very interesting and will aid me in the future not to just trust a graph by its look but to actually analyze the information.

Thomas

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