Don’t be Duped. Don’t be Fooled. Don’t be Manipulated.
The less aware you are of the tricks and logic fallacies used against you, the more manipulative you are (others can use you for their own ends, not your ends). If you can recognize the trick or see through the trick's purpose, you neutralize its effect (the trick doesn’t work on you). You can easily, mentally pound the attempted manipulations into useless ashes and blow them away.
This web site is currently under construction to provide trick/fallacy/manipulation definitions, explanations, visual recollection help through animation, examples, and suggested ways to avoid. In the meantime, here are four trick/fallacy/manipulation techniques to start:
Fake Answer — Trickster appears to answer your question but avoids it.
Fake Answer can possibly be an innocent avoidance via an indirect response, but usually it is a purposeful avoidance. Either way, your question is not answered---there should be ambiguity in your mind if you carefully examine the response.
Many times the duper will slant the response to appear as if the answer is what you want to hear. In reality, the response may be taken different ways (the trickster creates ambiguity on purpose).
Sometimes the duper answers a question with a question. This is often a Fake Answer response. The question is not a Fake Answer response if it is sincerely asked to gain more information in order to honestly answer your question and after gaining the information, your question is answered.
Often questions are prone to a Fake Answer because they aren’t specific enough. Thus, if you receive a Fake Answer response, try a very specific question.
Football players A and B are asked the same thing and each responds exactly the same:
Question: “How’s your injury? How are you feeling?” Response: “Wait until the game and you’ll see how good I’m feeling.”
Player A played his back to normal, great game.
Player B could barely run and was used as a decoy receiver.
“Do you respect me?” Response: “How can you ask such a thing?”
“Did you remember to get the things for the party?” Response: “Cake, ice cream, ice, piñata, chips, and plastic cups, right?”
[The reality is: He can remember what he was supposed to get, but instead of shopping, he was in a bar with a buddy drinking beer. Currently, the party is short: cake, ice cream, ice, chips, and plastic cups, and you don’t know it yet.]
“Are you for or against congressional PACs?” response: “Political Accepted Contributions are a hot topic. PACs have been abused by a large percentage of congressional members. The misuse of funds is to be abhorred. Thank you for your question.”
“Do you love me?” response: “What do you think?”
How to avoid:
Turn your question into a yes-or-no question and demand a yes or no only answer. If the other person won’t comply or discuss the specific of the question, then the other person is using the Fake Answer ploy.
Don’t accept any Fake Answer and press for the non-fake answer you are after.
Ask a very specific question (straight to the point questions are both difficult to respond to with a Fake Answer and make a Fake Answer conspicuous [tricksters don’t like their tricks to become glaring]).
Examples of how-to-avoid:
Instead of asking, “How’s your injury? How are you feeling?” you ask, “Are you back to 100%, yes or no?”
“Do you respect me?” Response: “How can you ask such a thing?” Your response to get a non-fake answer, “Because I want to know for sure. How much do you respect me?” Response: “Lots.” You press further. “Lately, I haven’t seen any evidence of that. What do you think that you have done lately that shows respect for me?”
Instead of asking, “Did you remember to get the things for the party?” you ask, “Did you get everything for the party, yes or no?”
Instead of asking, “Are you for or against congressional PACs?” you ask, “Are you for the abolition of PACs, yes or no?”
FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) is the tool of a trickster to get you into some extent of emotional turmoil. Emotions first then duped is the scheme. Scared, uncertain, doubtful of themselves or their possessions or their principles people are easily manipulated. FUD is an old, salesman trick to get you uncomfortable with your present product so that you can be sold a new product. It has been extended (used by media, journalists, governments, sales, and so forth). Tricksters crumple reasoning with emotions where FUD is a powerful weapon.
Explanation: A. FUD has many forms. Often starts as safety concerns but widens into FUD ploys. FUD is used in reports, polls, news items, studies, editorials, speeches, conversations, and so forth. B. FUD has many uses: to wrest control, to add to power, rights relinquishment, to sell a replacement or upgrade, to sway opinion, to get votes. C. When a person is in any emotional turmoil, reasoning becomes tougher and one is more easily manipulated. Confident of their stance with facts to back it up people versus confused people, who are the more easily manipulated? D. When you are fearful (especially if you aren’t sure of what), or uncertain of your stance, or doubtful of an alternative position or product that the trickster is trying to steer you from, you are more susceptible to the trickster. E. FUD can also be thought of the reasons versus emotions battle. You try to hang on to your reasons while they are being bombarded with FUD to cause you emotional turmoil. F. Control, principles, rights, stances, opinions, money, futures, next generations are freely given up because the person feels the effects of FUD. Fast-paced culture intensifies the impact of FUD. Emotions are instant; reasoning takes time.
Car salesman tells you that the car you are driving has one of the worst crash test ratings, that he wouldn’t let any of his loved ones ride in it and that he couldn’t sleep nights until he had bought a safer car.
Talk show host talks to expert guest about childhood injuries in car accidents then breaks to an ad of a safer child car seat.
Government runs public service announcements about increases of in-home accidents of the infirm then passes law that restricts elder care to qualified, licensed, caretakers.
News programs run videos showing awesome vehicle crashes and horrific post-accident scenes then government passes law that restricts access to only government-approved vehicles and vehicles not on the list must be junked or a huge, tax penalty is applied.
How to Avoid: A. Don’t accept Doubt of yourself or your position, Fear, or Uncertainty unless it is proven to you (not an attempt to make you feel that way). The proof via facts comes first. It is then up to you to determine your response: defiance or fear, confidence or doubt, stability or uncertainty. Don’t let the emotions be forced upon you. B. Are you becoming emotional because of images or emotional text? Don’t react to those emotions. Get away to where you can shed the emotions and think about facts. C. Don’t react like a startled animal; control your emotions then reason through your situation like a human.
Empty Words—Trickster uses good sounding words but the duper’s actions show that the words have no or a different meaning to the trickster.
A company uses the terms human resources instead of personnel and associates instead of employees but treats its people with no respect, gratitude, or worth.
A company spouts the phase “Our customers are important to us,” then makes it difficult to find any contact means to their customer support, provides a multi-level menu system to navigate through for phone calls into their customer support, doesn’t allow replies to emails that notify customers of changes to service, handles customer contacts without seriously attempting to understand the issues and without regard to customer’s time expenditure, and doesn’t seem to care if long-term loyal customers quit their service.
Your boyfriend states, “I love you,” then bad-mouths you to his best friend, forgets to give you a ride to your dental appointment, and leaves you waiting for him at the mall for an hour while he has sex with another.
You feel great when your girl friend says, “You’re my best ever friend.” You don’t know that she says that to almost all her friends.
You, startled, say. “Why did you take my picture?” The response, “You are so photogenic, you lit me.” Later you brag, “I had my picture taken because I’m so photogenic, I luminesce.” The snapshot taker shows your photo to another. “You ever see such a freakish, confused look. I could hardly keep it in. I told her she was photogenic.” Both snicker then roar.
How to detect Empty Words, avoid being duped by them:
Instead of viewing everything within the context of your perspective, feelings, wishes, anticipation, or expectations, also evaluate the words being used according to the user’s perspective, feelings, wishes, anticipation, expectations, or manipulation. Are the words sincere according to your interpretation? Are the words there because that’s what you want to hear? Are the words there to manipulate you?
Look beyond the words being used to the purpose behind them.
Do the words being used match the personality, style, normal usage, and actions of the speaker or writer?
Dig deeper. Don’t let the duper get away with a few words, start a discussion and delve for meanings. If text, then find other writings from the same source, especially those on a similar but differently slanted topic.
Leading Question — There are two types of Leading Question: 1. A suggestion is made via the question---Suggestion Leading Question (SLQ) and 2. To force the responder into an undesirable position---Position Leading Question (PLQ).
Leading Questions are questions slanted to evoke an expected, desired response. The opposite of a Leading Question is an objective question---a question fully open to any response, a question where no hint is made as to what the questioner wants or expects to hear.
The worst places to have Suggestion Leading Question (SLQ): in an investigation, within polls, within marketing surveys, within interviews.
Where you are most likely to encounter a SLQ: within polls, within marketing surveys, within sales pitches.
A Leading Question is more likely to work if the trickster cleverly builds up to it. The build-up can include non-neutral (slanted) statements.
Example of a Suggestion Leading Question (SLQ) within an investigation:
A woman calls police about destruction of property. An officer arrives ten minutes before his duty shift is over. The offence looks minor compared to the other things he has seen that day. The officer mumbles loud enough for the accused to hear, “There are signs that this could have occurred sometime earlier.” He confronts the accused and says, “Was this done prior to your arrival?”
“That’s right. It was like that when I got here.”
The officer turns to the accuser and says, “This boy seems like a good kid. Hauling him in could turn him toward the dark side. If you press it, you’ll have to sign a complaint, make a long statement, and probably need to appear as a witness in a trial. You’ll need to have the court appointed day open to come to court and take the stand and be cross examined. Do you really want to press charges?”
“I guess not.”
Examples of Suggestion Leading Question (SLQ):
“Don’t you think you should ____?” (Fill in the blank with anything.)
“Don’t you hate it when people ____?” (Fill in the blank with something that you don’t want the person to do anymore.)
“This is simply the best stylus for the money. It comes in silver or black. Which color do you want?” (The question is built up to via a Faulty Conclusion then if you answer the question with any of the options given, it implies that you are buying the product.)
“Don’t you just love garlic with pickles? I go through a jar and three cloves a day. Do you eat more than that?” (A starting and an ending Leading Question.)
Do you prefer shoddy, complicated _____ or efficient, simple-to-use ____?
Do you agree with the slick proposal A or the professional conclusion B?
Earthquakes continue to evade prediction. What do you think is the reason? □ incompetence □ ignorance □ complexity □ methods □ size (There is no choice for a write-in response or a response of none and thus you must choose only pre-selected issues even if you think that the reason is something different or that the question is irrelevant [is the wrong question to be asking].)
If you should reach one of the edges of the flat earth and continue, what do you think would happen? □ fall off, □ continue on underside □ be stopped from continuing by a barrier (There is no choice for a write-in response or a response of none and thus you must choose only pre-selected issues even if you think that the reason is something different or that the question is irrelevant or you don’t agree with the statement.)
The Federal Government has lost touch with the people. What do you think is the main issue? □ power □ evil □ incompetence □ ignorance □ corruption □ system □ size □ the leaders live much different lives (There is no choice for a write-in response or a response of none and thus you must choose only pre-selected issues even if you think that the main issue is something different or that the question is irrelevant.)
Examples of Position Leading Question (PLQ):
“Have you quit kicking your pet?”
“Have you stolen bikes more than once?”
Last night when walking down Maple Street to see your girl a block away on Elm Street, you saw Mary, an acquaintance, hauling groceries into her house and you paused and helped her. After a few moments there, you continued on to your girl’s place and spent two hours there with her and then you went home. The following day, in front of your girl, another girl asks, “And who were you with on Maple Street last night?”
Don’t get duped like this man (strive to be non-manipulated):
Beware of Dan the Duper and his brethren who are tricking, manipulating, duping people.