Do you believe everything…?
you read in the newspaper?
you view on TV?
you read about on the Web?
your friends tell you?
your teacher tells you?
How do you know…?
which candidate to
believe in a political
whether a product being
advertised really works?
Recognize False Logic and Bias
Learn to recognize faulty arguments and deceptive
logic to improve your ability to think critically about
Following are some of the more common faulty
persuasion techniques used in a variety of
situations, including political ads, commercials,
business situations, and more.
These arguments say little but convey
emotion. Advertisers often use words
that stir up certain emotions in us.
Sometimes these words glitter and
sparkle to attract our eye, such as
fresh, sparkling, etc.
Pure, fresh, mountain spring water.
Bottled especially for you in Colorado
from our purest mountain springs.
These are conclusions based on insufficient evidence
or samples too small to support the conclusion.
You can’t speak Italian. I can’t speak Italian. Petey can’t
speak Italian. I must therefore conclude that nobody
working at our store can speak French.
I asked three of my friends what they thought of the new
tax law and they agreed it is a good idea. The new tax
law is therefore popular.
This argument poses only two choices when there are a
variety of possibilities and perspectives to consider.
Either miss class to hang out with a friend who’s back in
town or make your friend feel bad. You don’t want to make
your friend feel bad, so you’ll have to miss class today.
Senator Joe: “We’ll have to cut education funding this year.”
Senator Will: “Why?”
Senator Joe: “Well, either we cut education or we live with a
huge deficit, and we can’t live with the deficit.”
An approach that encourages people to do something
because it is the popular thing to do. Everybody is
Although the majority opinion is often valid, that’s not
always the case.
Don’t miss the biggest event of the year! Everyone who’s
anyone will be there. Order your tickets today.
Claire and Kaitlin get to stay out late. All my friends get
to stay out until midnight, so I should be able to too!
This argument claims that a chain reaction, usually
ending in an extreme consequence, will take place. If
we take even one step on the “slippery slope,” we won’t
be able to stop and will slide all the way to the bottom.
No, you can’t get your ears pierced! Next thing you
know, you’ll have a pierced nose, tongue, and belly
The answer is no, you can’t learn to play
the guitar. Before you know it, you’ll drop
out of school and join a band.