Evocative Advocates and Stirring Statesmen: Law, Politics, and the Weaponization of Imagery

Forthcoming in Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, Vol. 2.2, Fall 2018

23 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018

Date Written: May 30, 2018

Abstract

This article shows how descriptive imagery can be used to hijack evolved psychological instincts and prejudice the judgments of others, particularly in the legal and political domains. By mimicking the cues that represented threats to our ancestors, those wishing to color the perception of others can subtly trigger the affective responses that evolved to help navigate ancestral threats. When this happens, logic may be unseated in favor of deep-seated instinctual responses, often to a problematic degree. In this way, lawyers, politicians, and activists, taking a page out of the playbook of novelists and other storytellers, can weaponize words, images, descriptions, and narratives to (often improperly) sway the opinions of others.

Keywords: evolutionary legal studies, evolutionary analysis in law, law and psychology, law and the humanities

Suggested Citation

Patrick, Carlton, Evocative Advocates and Stirring Statesmen: Law, Politics, and the Weaponization of Imagery (May 30, 2018). Forthcoming in Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, Vol. 2.2, Fall 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3187544

Carlton Patrick (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

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