Week 1 Short Answer

“There’s a notion that language itself, is power”

When I first heard this in the beginning of the language and discourse lecture I had to pause it, and really think about what it just said. Language is a powerful tool, holding more influence than most would think. Language is how we express and interpret; it’s a very tedious art that many struggle with, even with the basics. So to say that language is power, could not be more true. Language is how history is passed on for future generations. Yet one has to think, who is passing on these historical moments? Who is choosing what story gets told and how it gets told? Also, how can we tell the legitimacy of what we’re being told?

In some cases, language is a key factor in determining what information you’re receiving and how you’re receiving it. People manipulate language when it comes to narratives of conflict. Often times they are written in such a way that you can’t help but to see your own views or thoughts in it. They are usually written selectively and with bias, because whoever’s writing or speaking about something has specific intention behind it. Words are so incredibly powerful, they allow us to conceptualize things we experience in everyday life. Language is already tricky enough, but when people start manipulating it to benefit their hidden agendas, you’re left wondering if you can trust what you’re reading or hearing.

Visual representation is just as relevant to this as language. The images we see in our everyday lives have effects on us, like the Visual Representation lecture video stated, the average person is bombarded with 3,000-8,000 advertisements a day. Whether you think you’re not affected by this or not, you are. There’s psychology behind all advertising. There is room for manipulation through images and pictures, and people and companies use that room, and select what to show you based off of their intentions. An article on Science Daily explained, “Advertising that takes the form of apparel branded with company’s names, and products strategically placed in movies and television shows, often go unnoticed by consumers, capitalizing on our brain’s mechanisms to modulate preference based on non-conscious exposure.” The effect this kind of subliminal messaging can have is very serious, and should not be taken lightly; although it seems to be anyway. If you watch any big name news station nowadays, you catch on to a trend fairly quickly. They’re always reporting on tragedies and horrific events; they focus on all the bad and none of the good. Once someone is exposed to that kind of fear mongering and negativity enough, it will start to impact them. I personally watched my father turn more and more into a cynic after he started watching the news all the time. He would then start to talk about what was wrong with the world all of the time instead of what was right with it, sound familiar? As a psychology major I really take an interest in the importance and relevance of visual representation, throughout all aspects of life. People are affected by them a lot more than they would like to admit.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Effects Of Unconscious Exposure To Advertisements.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081209125828.htm>.

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