Reading Response- Hill: Psychology of Rhetorical Images

The article starts by saying a vast amount of images can be considered rhetorical. In my opinion, all images, or visuals, rather, are rhetorical in the right context. The article goes on to describe how visuals are emotional and not rational persuasion. Hill continues to say that if that is the case then visual persuasion is not worth studying. I vehemently disagree. We all make our decisions based on emotion, and learning how to use visual persuasion is very important. Hill says the rhetors goal is to make whatever information is useful for his persuasion purposes encompasses the whole attention span of the subjects. This is consistent with what I’ve read on the topic of persuasion. It is largely about attention, and especially attention at the moment of making a decision.

The article cites a study showing that participants in a fake jury trial favored the side of the lawyer who used the most vivid language and descriptions. I once read a book called Win Your Case by Gerry Spence. The author is a trial lawyer who in 50 years as a defense attorney has not lost a criminal case. The biggest take away from the book is that to win you must make your argument visual. This means using visual language and in some cases, he even had his clients and witnesses act out the events as if it were a play for the jury.

Another notable point from the article is that “people tend to choose a heuristic processing strategy when one is available because it is faster than systematic processing and requires less cognitive work.” This was the main point of a book I read called Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Khanemen. The book gives one a good understanding of how automatic the vast majority of our decisions are.