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Appeal to emotion

logical fallacy characterized by the manipulation of the recipient's emotions in order to win an argument, especially in the absence of factual evidence

Appeal to emotion is a logical fallacy. It happens when the argument is designed to trigger an emotional response instead of giving reasons.[1] An example of this would be "we have to donate to charity X; think of the children!", where instead of giving a reason why we should donate to charity, an emotive trigger is used instead- "think of the children".[2] It is also called argumentum ad passiones or appeal to feeling.

Aristotle recognised that if you triggered someone's emotions, they were easier to persuade. He said this in his book, Rhetoric.[3][4]


  1. Labossiere, Michael C. "Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion". Nizkor Project. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  2. Meany, John; Kate Shuster (2002). Art, Argument, and Advocacy: Mastering Parliamentary Debate. New York: International Debate Education Association. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-9702130-7-5. OCLC 438996525.
  3. Aristotle, Rhetorica I, II.5.
  4. “The Influence of Emotions on Beliefs”, Nico Frijda, Antony Manstead and Sasha Bem in Emotions and Beliefs, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p.1.