What is Manipulation

a. What is Manipulation and Why do People Manipulate?

Manipulation is a part of life’s struggles, and all animals use it.  There is evidence that plants use it too. 

Manipulators almost always use emotions to motivate and conceal.  This means that if an emotion is triggered by another  – be careful.  It is the signal of manipulation. 

It is also helpful to understand the reasons people manipulate.  The four main ones are: 

  1. Power and Economic Gain;
  2. Vengeance;
  3. Psychological Reasons such as Enjoyment & Pleasure; and
  4. Protection of Self and Others.

Finding the reason will generally lead you to the real manipulator, even when their actions are hiding behind emotions. 

b. Signs of Manipulation and How to Spot it.

Because it has been around for a very long time, people use hundreds of different techniques.  The ones most repeated have received their own name, known as a fallacy

There are over a hundred commonly practiced fallacies.  The link below discusses the top 14 that are the most widely used.  These fallacies are discussed with examples and red flags.  There are two that dominate the group.  They are used daily, i.e., the Name Calling and the Confusing Fact with an Opinion.  

Spotting when these fallacies occur educates people against the many traps and consequences. 

c. Media Manipulation.

The Entertainment Industry builds its entire success around selling emotions.  They are meant to manipulate.  (Buy a ticket or subscribe to this service, and we will make you feel better.) 

The number of sensory inputs increases the effect of emotions.  A detailed discussion of these sensory inputs, including books, movies, video games, music, and humor, is outlined in the link below.  

c. Propaganda

All advertisements, all commercials, and all political ads are propaganda.  All are designed to manipulate even the ones that appear to recite facts.  They are opinions cleverly disguised as facts. 

Several practice ads provide convenient and easy-to-follow exercises.   Hands-on analysis of each ad reveals hidden manipulations.  Several websites are outlined in the link showing where to file complaints against various manufacturers and sellers and the products and services being marketed.  A few remedies are identified. 

State laws prohibit misleading propaganda, including the reimbursement of attorney fees.