When influence is manipulative - Deepstash
How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation - Robert Noggle | Aeon Ideas

How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation - Robert Noggle | Aeon Ideas

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When influence is manipulative

Influence is manipulative depending on how it is being used.

If the manipulator attempts to get someone to adopt what the manipulator himself regards as wrong, it resembles lying. The liar tries to get you to choose a false belief or to make a mistake in what he thinks, feels, doubts or pays attention to.

When influence is persuasion

Sometimes, influences can improve the other person’s decision-making situation by leading her to believe, doubt, feel or pay attention to the right things.

What matters in identifying manipulation is the intention of the person using it - whether the influence is being used to put the other person into a better or a worse position to make a decision.

Forms of manipulation

We are continually subject to manipulation. For instance:

  • Gaslighting: It involves encouraging someone to doubt their own judgment and to rely on the manipulator's advice instead.
  • Guilt trips: Making someone feel overly guilty for failing to do what the manipulator wants him/her to do.
  • Peer pressure: Caring so much about the manipulator's approval that she/he will obey the manipulators' wishes.


Manipulation often harms. Manipulative phishing and other scams make identity theft possible; manipulative social tactics can support unhealthy relationships.

Manipulation is wrong because it involves immoral techniques. It means treating the other as mere objects and not as a rational being.

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