ENGL 147N Week 6 Discussion 2: Deceptive Arguments
ENGL 147N Week 6 Discussion 2: Deceptive Arguments
Welcome to our second discussion board of Week 6! You may begin posting for credit on April 6. For this one, we going to focus on Deceptive Arguments. We have probably all seen advertisements that use fear tactics or other manipulative means to attempt to convince an audience or sell a product.
After reading the two articles required for this board, you will summarize each of the articles. You will be incorporating what you know about logical fallacies and rhetorical appeals, as you develop these summaries.
Put yourself in the place of the audience, and think about what your own reaction would be. Also, consider some of the times you have seen similar tactics used and how effective they were or were not.
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For some extra reading, check out the following article:
Slavin, S., Batrouney, C., & Murphy, D. (2007). Fear appeals and treatment side-effects: An effective combination for HIV prevention? AIDS Care, 19(1), 130–137. https://doi-org.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/09540120600866473 (Links to an external site.)
Be sure to post by Wednesday, include your source, and refer to the discussion rubric as a guide for expectations.
In the first article, Fear advertisements: influencing consumers to make better health decisions, Krishen and Bui (2015) analyze whether people are more prone to make healthier choices through fear or hope. They analyze previously recorded research and build upon it. They conclude that people respond more to fear than hope. People will choose healthier foods if they feel fear from an advertisement rather than hope. I think if the participants were made aware of the manipulation tactic being used, they would distrust the advertisement entirely and would continue with their current choices. Using fear-inducing tactics has limitations because there also has to be a positive goal associated. Furthermore, the participant must have a goal they want to obtain in order to take the fear tactic into consideration and therefore change their behaviors or choices.
In the second article, Fear appeals in social marketing: The case of anti-speeding video advertisement “Mistakes”, Giachino et al. (2017) analyzed 20 young Italian students. The research is to see if they drove within the speed limit after watching the anti-speeding video. It appears that the students were aware of the purpose of the study and the results may be biased due to that (GIachino et al., Spring 2017). I believe knowing they were being manipulated made them immune to the effects of this research. In the 10 females analyzed, some females actually increased their speeding after the video. Giachino et al. (2017) believe this may be due to them feeling like their freedom was infringed upon. The limitations of this research are that the results are short term and do not show the long term effects of the fear tactics used. According to Giachino et al. (2017), the more one is exposed to the fear tactic the less effective it is. (Giachino et al., 2017) Another limitation is that they used a small group of young Italian students. In order to have a better understanding of the results of the fear appeal, they would have to increase the number of people analyzed as well as a more diverse audience.
I think if I were a subject in one of these studies I would probably be induced to give the results they were looking for. For instance, I would drive within the speed limits while I was being watched but once the research was over, I probably would go back to my bad habits. I feel like normally I stay within the speed limit but in roads such as the parkway, where the normal is 10 miles above the speed limit, I tend to follow the crowd. I also noticed that personally, fear tactics have a short term effect on me. I tend to make changes but with time go back to what I used to do. I believe it’s because, like Krishen and Bui state, you must have a personal goal for making the choice in order for the fear strategy to work (Krishen and Bui, 2015). I have seen many documentaries on Netflix that use fear tactics to manipulate the audience. There are documentaries on how bad sugar is for you, how bad meat is for, and other types of documentaries. I think a lot of the documentaries use fear appeal when manipulating their audience. Even the music used and the images are all to bring about fear to the viewer. I don’t think any of them worked long term on me or my family. Nonetheless, I have seen others make life changes after seeing the same documentaries.
Giachino, C., Stupino, M., Petrarulo, G., & Bertoldi, B. (2017, Spring). Fear appeals in social marketing: The case of anti-speeding video advertisement “Mistakes”. https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/eds/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=3e711d84-309d-441c-b43c-119c2ebc4d96%40pdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3D%3D#AN=124409330&db=bth
Krishen, A. S., & Bui, M. (2015). Fear advertisements: Influencing consumers to make better health decisions. https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/eds/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=c26a72fd-b85b-479c-9f98-1bc31f3e6fdf%40pdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3D%3D#db=edswss&AN=000369954900008
I could really relate to what you said about the effectiveness of those documentaries. I remember watching Supersize Me years ago. I was disgusted. I swore off the fast food industry, but that was short-lived.
When I think of fear tactics, I automatically think of those anti-smoking commercials. They definitely use fear tactics. Seeing someone who has had part of their face removed due to cancer caused by smoking is pretty terrifying! I also believe that social media is a big place for the use of fear advertisements. Social media has really changed how we react to things. We see multiple people post. We see multiple people have certain reactions. It really does influence how we view issues.
I do believe fear-based tactics work – to a degree. The issue is with getting people to not turn away when they realize it’s something that might frighten them into making better choices. 🙁 I know that when it comes to health, fear can make an impact. I know this from personal experience. For instance, I have an aunt who has been overweight and had bad knees for years. She had put off getting knee replacements and had avoided eating right and exercise. In recent years her doctors began telling her that she may end up in a wheelchair if she didn’t have the surgeries and that it would be a much better recovery if she were strong and weighed less. For the past year, she did water aerobics and walked the pool. She ate better and lost weight. She has had one knee replacement and has the other scheduled. Sometimes, it takes fear to sort of force a person into making some hard decisions. In this example, it took years before she changed her habits.
I think health-related fear tactics have always made an impact on me. I know that the advertisements that scared me are the ones I’ve always remembered: the ones about smoking, the ones about STDs and condoms, the ones about texting and driving.
I think it’s about knowing one’s audience. Even if I know the goal is to scare me into action, if it’s something that could really hurt me, I might just be scared into action!
I agree that the fear tactic works if you know your audience and know how to manipulate said audience. I also think fear tactics work depending on each person’s real fears. If I already have a vulnerability or an underlying fear and they build on that fear maybe it sits longer with me or really makes me change. For instance, as I get older my biggest fear is to have to depend on anyone. So if I was told I would end up in a wheelchair like your aunt was told, I would definitely be scared into making changes. When it comes to food though, I always struggle because I self indulge and that ends up overpowering any fear. LOL I think there may be some psychological issues there that I really gotta work on. Maybe if I work on those, the fear tactics may actually work.
If the participants are aware of misleading manipulation techniques, are they immune to their effects?
No, the participants might not be immune to the fear tactics. It might do a good job to change people’s behavior after seeing the campaign.
What are the limitations of these types of fear-inducing tactics?
As mentioned by the participant, the limitations are related to future impact and generalization effects. By using fear tactics, people will be doing something to avoid unwanted results. They might be focusing too much on the unwanted results rather than its actual purpose. Second, short-term success might inspire other advertisement products to take a similar approach. The result could be different.
How would you react if you were a subject in one of these studies?
I agree with the participants; I would play with the script. After the study was done, I will go back to old habits.
What can we take away from these articles to apply to our own topics?
Considering the tendency of the study population to ignore the situated experiment conducted by the experts, I would try to find any journal that observed real-life situations. Thus, the evidence will be more acceptable to the target audience.
Where else have you seen these types of fear tactics applied (e.g., advertising, social media, word of mouth, etc.)?
I have seen many ads and health campaigns using this fear tactic.
Are there other mediums effective?
Yes, they are effective to make most people quiver in fear and re-think their current behavior.
Why is that the case?
The target audience will either accept or deny the fear factors used in the campaign. Then, they will decide whether they will change their behavior or not.
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