As we head into election communication bonanzas, watch for these clear examples of political manipulation. When we talk about persuasion or manipulation, there are three key pillars: Ethos Logos Pathos Ethos, that's about identity. Who you are, what you believe, who you see as part of your tribe. Logos, that's about facts. That's measurable things described in past or present tense. Pathos: that's all things emotional. It happens in present or future tense. This is where, "They'll forget what you said but not how you made them feel" hits pay-dirt. See if what I say now reminds you of any particular politician. The strongest emotions of all are patriotism and anger. Specifically, tell a crowd that a group with a different identity wants to take something away from them, and you have the formula that can make a crowd roar, riot and rampage. It happens in present and future tense. The impact of these emotions is sewn into our DNA: identity, belonging, a desire to protect what's ours, the joy of being in a crowd that feels like I do. Those responses are built into the primal neural pathways of all primates. Think how animals raise their heads when something not from the pack approaches. Same deal. If you come away from a rally feeling more angry and more violent, if you were told to think about a group with a different identity coming to take something away from you, know that an appeal was made to your primal, primate brain and not to the part of your brain that makes you human. The Jews/Arabs/Yellow Peril/Mexicans are coming for our jobs/women/identity!!! Sound familiar?
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