Evidence-Based Nursing,

ENGL 147N Week 6 Discussion 2: Deceptive Arguments

ENGL 147N Week 6 Discussion 2: Deceptive Arguments

ENGL 147N Week 6 Discussion 2: Deceptive Arguments

Required Resources

Read/review the following resources for this activity: 

Apply the following writing resources to your posts: 

Initial Post Instructions 

Part 1: Research & Review

Review the two articles in Required Resources on the uses of logical fallacies and rhetorical appeals in the healthcare field. 

The Krishen and Bui (2015) article discusses the active use of logical fallacies to manipulate obese consumers into making better health choices through two oppositional approaches: fear tactics and positive reinforcement. 

The Giachino, Stupino, Peratulo, and Bertoldi (2017) article presents a study of fear tactics applied through social advertising, similar to the ads we discussed in our Week 3 discussion boards. Students were exposed to fear advertising in an attempt to reduce high speed driving. 

Part 2: Application

Apply what you have learned about logical fallacies and rhetorical appeals to interpret and summarize the articles. Consider the following questions: 

  • If the participants are aware of misleading manipulation techniques, are they immune to their effects? 
  • What are the limitations of these types of fear inducing tactics? 
  • How would you react if you were a subject in one of these studies? 
  • What can we take away from these articles to apply in our own topics? 
  • Where else have you seen these types of fear tactics applied (e.g., advertising, social media, word of mouth, etc.)? Are these other mediums effective? Why is that the case? 

Cite your sources in APA format. 

Follow-Up Post Instructions

Respond to at least two peers or one peer and the instructor. Offer additional insight into your peers’ responses by furthering the discussion. Did you notice any inconstancies in the persuasive methods applied that your peer might have missed? Did you notice any other specific logical fallacies in your peer’s response? Have you ever fallen prey to the types of fear tactics commonly used in your classmate’s topic? Provide an example if so. If not, how were you able to avoid susceptibility? 

Note: If you see that someone has already received feedback from two peers, please choose to help a peer who has yet to obtain feedback. 

Writing Requirements 

  • Minimum of 3 posts (1 initial & 2 follow-up) 
  • APA format for in-text citations and list of references 


This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link: 

Course Outcomes (CO): 2 

Due Date for Initial Post: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Wednesday
Due Date for Follow-Up Posts: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday 

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Welcome to our second discussion board of Week 6! You may begin posting for credit on April 6. For this one, we going to focus on Deceptive Arguments. We have probably all seen advertisements that use fear tactics or other manipulative means to attempt to convince an audience or sell a product. 

After reading the two articles required for this board, you will summarize each of the articles. You will be incorporating what you know about logical fallacies and rhetorical appeals, as you develop these summaries. 

Put yourself in the place of the audience, and think about what your own reaction would be. Also, consider some of the times you have seen similar tactics used and how effective they were or were not. 

For some extra reading, check out the following article: 

Slavin, S., Batrouney, C., & Murphy, D. (2007). Fear appeals and treatment side-effects: An effective combination for HIV prevention? AIDS Care, 19(1), 130–137. https://doi-org.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/09540120600866473 (Links to an external site.) 

Be sure to post by Wednesday, include your source, and refer to the discussion rubric as a guide for expectations. 

In the first article, Fear advertisements: influencing consumers to make better health decisions, Krishen and Bui (2015) analyze whether people are more prone to make healthier choices through fear or hope. They analyze previously recorded research and build upon it. They conclude that people respond more to fear than hope. People will choose healthier foods if they feel fear from an advertisement rather than hope.  I think if the participants were made aware of the manipulation tactic being used, they would distrust the advertisement entirely and would continue with their current choices. Using fear-inducing tactics has limitations because there also has to be a positive goal associated. Furthermore, the participant must have a goal they want to obtain in order to take the fear tactic into consideration and therefore change their behaviors or choices.  

In the second article, Fear appeals in social marketing: The case of anti-speeding video advertisement “Mistakes”, Giachino et al. (2017) analyzed 20 young Italian students. The research is to see if they drove within the speed limit after watching the anti-speeding video. It appears that the students were aware of the purpose of the study and the results may be biased due to that (GIachino et al., Spring 2017). I believe knowing they were being manipulated made them immune to the effects of this research. In the 10 females analyzed, some females actually increased their speeding after the video. Giachino et al. (2017) believe this may be due to them feeling like their freedom was infringed upon.ENGL 147N Week 6 Discussion 2: Deceptive Arguments

The limitations of this research are that the results are short term and do not show the long term effects of the fear tactics used. According to Giachino et al. (2017), the more one is exposed to the fear tactic the less effective it is. (Giachino et al., 2017) Another limitation is that they used a small group of young Italian students. In order to have a better understanding of the results of the fear appeal, they would have to increase the number of people analyzed as well as a more diverse audience.  

I think if I were a subject in one of these studies I would probably be induced to give the results they were looking for. For instance, I would drive within the speed limits while I was being watched but once the research was over, I probably would go back to my bad habits. I feel like normally I stay within the speed limit but in roads such as the parkway, where the normal is 10 miles above the speed limit, I tend to follow the crowd. I also noticed that personally, fear tactics have a short term effect on me.

I tend to make changes but with time go back to what I used to do. I believe it’s because, like Krishen and Bui state, you must have a personal goal for making the choice in order for the fear strategy to work (Krishen and Bui, 2015). I have seen many documentaries on Netflix that use fear tactics to manipulate the audience. There are documentaries on how bad sugar is for you, how bad meat is for, and other types of documentaries. I think a lot of the documentaries use fear appeal when manipulating their audience. Even the music used and the images are all to bring about fear to the viewer. I don’t think any of them worked long term on me or my family. Nonetheless, I have seen others make life changes after seeing the same documentaries.  


Giachino, C., Stupino, M., Petrarulo, G., & Bertoldi, B. (2017, Spring). Fear appeals in social marketing: The case of anti-speeding video advertisement “Mistakes”. https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/eds/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=3e711d84-309d-441c-b43c-119c2ebc4d96%40pdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3D%3D#AN=124409330&db=bth 

Krishen, A. S., & Bui, M. (2015). Fear advertisements: Influencing consumers to make better health decisions. https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/eds/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=c26a72fd-b85b-479c-9f98-1bc31f3e6fdf%40pdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3D%3D#db=edswss&AN=000369954900008 I could really relate to what you said about the effectiveness of those documentaries. I remember watching Supersize Me years ago. I was disgusted. I swore off the fast food industry, but that was short-lived. 

When I think of fear tactics, I automatically think of those anti-smoking commercials. They definitely use fear tactics. Seeing someone who has had part of their face removed due to cancer caused by smoking is pretty terrifying! I also believe that social media is a big place for the use of fear advertisements. Social media has really changed how we react to things. We see multiple people post. We see multiple people have certain reactions. It really does influence how we view issues.  

I do believe fear-based tactics work – to a degree. The issue is with getting people to not turn away when they realize it’s something that might frighten them into making better choices. 🙁 I know that when it comes to health, fear can make an impact. I know this from personal experience. For instance, I have an aunt who has been overweight and had bad knees for years. She had put off getting knee replacements and had avoided eating right and exercise. In recent years her doctors began telling her that she may end up in a wheelchair if she didn’t have the surgeries and that it would be a much better recovery if she were strong and weighed less. For the past year, she did water aerobics and walked the pool. She ate better and lost weight. She has had one knee replacement and has the other scheduled. Sometimes, it takes fear to sort of force a person into making some hard decisions. In this example, it took years before she changed her habits.  

I think health-related fear tactics have always made an impact on me. I know that the advertisements that scared me are the ones I’ve always remembered: the ones about smoking, the ones about STDs and condoms, the ones about texting and driving. 

I think it’s about knowing one’s audience. Even if I know the goal is to scare me into action, if it’s something that could really hurt me, I might just be scared into action! 

It is very true that in order for fear tactics to work, the person has to have their own goals they wish to achieve. I have come across many people who smoke, use drugs, drink excessively, and no amount of fear motivates them to change these behaviors until they find their own reasons and motivation to change.  

I think that there are emotional and psychological issues that we may have to face before we are able to actually make changes. I just mentioned that to professor Amy that I self indulge with sweets and soda even though I know they are terrible for my health. Maybe if I worked on the root of the self-indulgence and got that under control I would be more prone to making changes based on fear.  The same goes for those using drugs and smoking. If they were able to work on the reason they smoke or do drugs then maybe the fear tactic would work. Maybe the fear of facing whatever other issues they have is greater than the fear tactic presented to them?  

I can absolutely relate to indulging in soda and sweets under emotional stress.  I find that I  can be very motivated to eat healthy and exercise, especially since eventually, I would like to figure out way to incorporate that knowledge into a holisitic nursing career. But then I hit a road block and it can spiral downhill.  I know its a bad day at work when I reach for a can of coke.  Once I do that, it seems I start to backslide into old habits.  (Thankfully, that is not true of cigarettes).   The current pandemic  has made it difficult for me to get back on track,  some days I try to eat healthier meals, like a fresh salad, but more often then not I am craving comfort food and ordering take out several times a week.   Sometimes a good scare can be a motivating factor but ultimately change comes from real self evaluation and self reflection.