Interpersonal Communication Theory

Choose ONE of the paper topics provided on the reverse side of this handout. Each topic requires you to use information presented during class lectures (not the textbook) and does NOT require any additional research for your paper or a bibliography. You may, however, find it helpful to look up and include information that is relevant to the person/topic you choose (news, biographies, websites, etc.). In addition to fully explaining each concept, be sure to provide clear, specific, and fully explained examples that are tailored to the prompt you choose. However, you can NOT use the same examples given in class.
Your paper should be typed in 12-point font with 1 or 1.25 inch margins, double-spaced, and approximately 3-5 pages in length. It is important that your paper have an introduction, smooth transitions, and a conclusion paragraph, with clear sentence structure throughout. Please STAPLE your pages together. We require that you bold, italicize, AND/OR underline each term or concept from the lecture notes within your paper. Poor organization, incomplete introductions and conclusion, as well as incorrect grammar and spelling will result in lost points, so please PROOFREAD your paper.


Your paper should be typed in 12-point font with 1 or 1.25-inch margins, double-spaced, and 3-5 pages. You may write your paper as a letter to the person or organization who needs your help.
Lecture terms/concepts asked for in paper prompt should be in bold, italicized, or underlined. Clearly and fully identify and explain each concept asked for in the prompt AND provide a relevant example for each concept. Each concept should have its own unique example.
Include an introduction (with a preview of main points and a thesis statement), transitions, and a conclusion (summarizing main points and restating thesis). All examples should be specifically related to the scenario in the prompt and should NOT be an example used during lecture. Examples should speak to the specific situation you’re writing about.
Staple your pages together, please. Proofread for spelling and grammar errors.

1. There has been much debate recently about Obamacare. Imagine that a group of students on campus sought to implement a similar program throughout UT. This student organization wishes to promote a policy that advocates for free access to University health services. This group of students turns to you for input knowing that you have experience with message delivery and reception from Dr. Daly’s class. Write to the leaders of this student organization and give them advice on how they can best get their message across to the UT students and convince the leaders of UT to allow for free health care. In preparing your message: (1) define and explain three of the four principles of selective exposure, giving specific examples of how they can use each principle to support their cause; (2) define and explain four of the five components of selective attention, including specific examples of what they can do to gain people’s attention; (3) define and explain four of the five aspects of selective perception, giving a relevant example for each; and (4) define and explain three of the four principles of selective retention, with specific examples of how they can ensure that people remember their message.

2. At one time in her life, Miley Cyrus may have been called charismatic. Perhaps some of you are familiar with her old show, Hannah Montana and maybe some of you are even fans of her music. She used to be a huge pop star and while she is still quite famous, things have not been going well for Miley lately. She has supposedly split up with her fiancé and we have all heard about her eyebrow-raising performance at the VMAs. After considering Dr. Daly’s first lecture on “Charisma,” write a letter to Miley about how charisma and credibility can help her reestablish her reputation. In your letter, (1) explain what charisma is, (2) explain four reasons for the importance of studying it, providing examples for each of these concepts that are relevant to Miley’s situation. (3) Next, identify and explain to Miley the five aspects of credibility and again, be sure to include examples of each aspect and how each of them relate to Miley’s situation. (4) Explain the four components of trustworthiness and give examples of how each of them apply to Miley’s case.

3. While it may seem like an odd pairing, Chris Martin from the band Coldplay and actress Gwyneth Paltrow have been able to keep their marriage alive for a long time judging by Hollywood’s standards. However, there have been rumors swirling that Gwyneth cheated on Chris with a famous billionaire. We don’t know if this rumor is true, but Chris and Gwyneth are really trying to ensure their relationship lasts. It’s not easy being in the public eye, and even though they try to be private about their relationship, the publicity can be overwhelming. Further, the two have demanding work schedules that often keep them apart. The couple is focused on ensuring their relationship lasts, but they feel they need some advice. Chris and Gwyneth are in luck because you know how to make a relationship last, so you decide to write the couple a letter using what you learned in class about Enduring Relationships. In your letter to Chris and Gwyneth, (1) define and explain seven of the characteristics of enduring relationships and provide examples relevant to Chris and Gwyneth’s situation for each, and (2) define and explain seven of the relational contradictions, also providing relevant examples for each.

4. Rumor has it that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom are going to file for divorce. Things have certainly been rocky for the two, but they want to quell rumors about their relationship status. Will Khloe and Lamar be able to work through their issues? Or will Khloe follow the footsteps of her sister, Kim, who is also divorced from a NBA player? Good thing for Khloe and Lamar that you’re in Dr. Daly’s class and you can help them deal with the rumors that are circulating. Write a letter to Khloe OR Lamar (remember, we don’t know what their status is or if they are even still on good terms, so you shouldn’t write to them as a couple) in which you include the following: (1) Identify and explain the three types of rumors discussed in class. Be sure to include examples that are relevant to Lamar and Khloe’s situation. Next, (2) identify, explain, and give examples relevant to Lamar and Khloe’s situation of each of the four components of managing rumors. (3) Be sure to also explain what it means that the relationship between components is multiplicative, as well as identify and explain which component Lamar and Khloe can actually control to help manage the rumors. Finally, (4) identify, explain, and give relevant examples of six characteristics of rumors. Lamar and Khloe need your help, so be sure that you fully explain the concepts and provide clear examples related to their current situation. (For this topic, be sure to write about rumors, not gossip.)


Interpersonal Communication Theory