When they’re used well, graphs can help us intuitively grasp complex data. But as visual software has enabled more usage of graphs throughout all media, it has also made them easier to use in a careless or dishonest way — and as it turns out, there are plenty of ways graphs can mislead and outright manipulate.

The next time you’re presented with a graph, look at the labels, the numbers, the scale, and the context. This TED Ed lesson by Lea Gaslowit, with animation by Mark Phillips, explains.

Next, watch How a mathematician dissects an astonishing coincidence, Sugar: Hiding in plain sight, and some brain-exercising puzzles.

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