How Authors Promote Bias in Texts

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  • 0:04 Persuasion
  • 0:59 Testimonials and Big Names
  • 2:06 Bandwagon Techniques
  • 2:42 Loaded Words
  • 3:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Do you believe anything a person tells you? If so, then you really need to complete this lesson to learn how to recognize the ways an author promotes his or her bias in a text.

Persuasion

Listening to the radio. Watching television. Streaming online music. Even driving down the street. What do all these things have in common? Advertisements, of course! In between songs, your favorite TV show, and on billboards and signs plastered on every available surface, persuasion is truly all around us.

So what is persuasion? Persuasion occurs when a person attempts to convince others to think a certain way or do a certain act. Most commercials and advertisements strive to get people to buy things. However, some are more political or philosophical in an attempt to get society to agree with a specific ideology.

In writing, an author uses persuasion to promote a bias, which is displaying a partiality for or against a person or idea. Authors attempt to persuade readers to agree with a bias using many different methods.

Testimonials and Big Names

The first method is the testimonial, which occurs when one person vouches for someone or something else. You see this all the time in commercials when they state ''real people, not actors.'' Then, coincidentally, the people always say how amazed they are with that car, or shampoo, or smart phone. The commercial is using a testimonial from an everyday person to show you how good that product is.

A related method is big names, which is basically a testimonial by a famous person or an expert on that topic. Have you ever seen the blurbs on the back of a book cover? One might have The New York Times raving that this book is amazing. That is a big name since the newspaper is considered an expert in the field of writing.

Another example is the many car commercials that feature celebrities. If a celebrity is driving this car, don't you want to as well? He might be no expert in cars, but he is a very big name.

Using testimonials and big names shows the reader that the information the author is giving has been accepted by everyday people, experts, or famous people. Isn't that good enough for you?

Bandwagon Techniques

Another type of persuasion technique is bandwagon, which projects the image that everyone else is already on board with the argument. Basically, everyone else is doing it, you should, too. Jump on the bandwagon!

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