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Why Are Ethics Important in Relation to “Visual Persuasion?”

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Images instantly gain audience attention, they are faster and easier to decode (make sense out of), they transcend language barriers, they convey emotional information more effectively than text

Most visual materials that accompany written arguments serve one of two functions— they appeal to the emotions ( a photograph of a calf in a pen so narrow that the calf cannot turn, images of polar bears on melting ice caps, etc. ) or they clarify numerical data ( a graph showing rise of Earth temperatures over the course of several decades). They bypass cognitive processing and directly appeal to emotion.

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Some scholars seemed to consider visual elements only in relation to expressing quantitative relationships in charts and graphs. Others concentrated solely on the ubiquity of visual elements on the Internet, which might give the impression that visual elements are important only in online communication

Much of the more culturally oriented work was based in art history and art theory, sometimes using the terms visual rhetoric and visual culture to refer to artistic images exclusively. In still other cases, the use of the word visual included visualizing, the mental construction of internal images, while other scholars seemed to use it to refer solely to conventional two-dimensional images. Add those scholarly pursuits to the study of print and film advertising, television, and cinema, and suddenly a new field of inquiry emerged, rich with possibility, but sometimes puzzling in its breadth. The larger problem was not that rhetoricians were analyzing a wide variety of visuals—we saw this diversity of efforts as exciting and productive. The problem was that there seemed to be very little agreement on the basic nature of the two termsvisual and rhetoric.

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However, if an individual continues to advance morally, he or she will actually a stage Kohlberg called the postconventional level. It is at this level that a person stops defining wrong and right in terms of group norms or loyalties. Instead, an adult person at this particular level advances his or her moral principles, which define wrong and right from the universal point of view. Moral principles at this level are principles, which would actually appeal to a reasonable person since they take the interest of everyone into account. Therefore, when you ask an individual at this level why something is wrong or right, he or she will appeal to the thing that promotes or fails to promote human welfare or human rights or universal principles of justice (Krebs 2005). A number of psychologists in modern times would in fact agree with Socrates. In an overview of the contemporary research in moral development field, James Rest, a psychologist found that young adults between 20 and 30 years’ experience dramatic changes in terms of their basic strategies in solving problems that are associated with the ethical issues. Besides, his findings revealed that these changes are essentially linked to the fundamental changes in the way an individual perceives the society in addition to his or her role in such a society. Rest also found that extent to which that change takes place is associated with number of years of the formal education (Krebs 2005). The deliberate educational attempts to influence moral problems awareness and judgment or reasoning process have actually been proved to be effective. Therefore, studies have indicated that an individual’s behavior is essentially influenced by moral judgments or moral perceptions that such an individual has.

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To sum up, fast forward to today, and we see persuasion methods used in advertising, marketing, and communication all around us

When we try to convince someone of a point of view or win that next design client or project, chances are we are using persuasion: a process by which a person’s attitudes or behavior are, without duress, influenced by communications from other people.

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Krebs, D. L. (2005). An evolutionary reconceptualization of Kohlberg’s model of moral development. In R. Burgess & K. MacDonald (Eds.) Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Development, (pp. 243–274). CA: Sage Publications.

Richerson, P.J. & Boyd, R. (2004). Darwinian Evolutionary Ethics: Between Patriotism and Sympathy. In Philip Clayton and Jeffrey Schloss, (Eds.), Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective, pp. 50–77.

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