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COMM 4301 UR Communication Questions

COMM 4301 UR Communication Questions


  1. Harmful Use of Persuasive Communication:
    • False Advertising: Using misleading information to promote a product or service, potentially causing consumers to make poor choices.
    • Propaganda: Spreading biased or false information to manipulate public opinion for political or ideological gain.
  2. Differences Between Communication Concepts:
    • Influence: The ability to affect or shape someone’s thoughts, behaviors, or decisions.
    • Persuasion: Convincing someone to adopt a particular belief or take a specific action.
    • Manipulation: Cunningly influencing others for personal gain, often involving deceit.
    • Coercion: Forcing or pressuring someone to do something against their will.
  3. Elements of Persuasive Communication (Cialdini):
    • Social Proof: People tend to follow the actions of others in uncertain situations.
    • Reciprocity: People feel obligated to return favors or kindness.
    • Scarcity: Limited availability increases perceived value.
    • Authority: People trust and comply with authoritative figures.
    • Likeability: People are more easily persuaded by those they like.
    • Commitment: People strive to be consistent with their previous actions.

    Example (Reciprocity): A colleague helps you with a project, and you later help them with a task, creating a positive working relationship.

  4. Ignoring the Rule of Reciprocity:
    • When someone gives a gift or compliment with manipulative intentions, exploiting the recipient’s sense of obligation.
  5. Intervening in Dangerous Situations:
    • Willingness to intervene depends on personal factors like safety, capability, and context.
    • Some people might intervene to protect vulnerable individuals, while others might hesitate due to fear or uncertainty.
  6. Importance of “Bearing Witness”:
    • Acknowledging and understanding someone’s perspective builds rapport.
    • This helps establish trust and makes communication more persuasive by showing empathy and respect.
  7. “Reconstructing Reality” in Persuasion:
    • Persuasion involves shaping perceptions and attitudes.
    • While complete reconstruction might be challenging, shifting perspectives and creating common ground can bridge divisions.
  8. Likeability in Hiring Decisions:
    • Likeability can influence hiring decisions by creating a positive impression.
    • However, it can skew judgment if not balanced with objective evaluation of skills and qualifications.
  9. Belief in “The Big Lie”:
    • Cognitive biases, social dynamics, and echo chambers can reinforce false beliefs.
    • Emotional attachment to a leader can lead to motivated reasoning and information filtering.
  10. Beliefs About Deception:
  • Various factors influence deception, and different situations lead to different communication approaches.
  • Each statement (a-g) has its own validity depending on context and individuals involved.
  1. C.S. Pierce’s Statement:
  • Challenging established beliefs creates discomfort (doubt).
  • People resist changing their minds due to the comfort of belief.
  1. Doubting Likeability:
  • Everyone experiences self-doubt at times.
  • Seeking feedback, introspection, and building self-confidence can address doubts about likeability.
  1. Rise of Influencers:
  • Influencers can provide valuable information but may also spread misinformation.
  • Their impact on society depends on their credibility, ethical practices, and the critical thinking of their followers.
  1. Importance of Critical Thinking:
  • Critical thinking promotes rational decision-making and independent judgment.
  • Improving critical thinking skills benefits individuals and society.
  • Encouraging critical thinking in education helps students navigate complex information.
  1. Defamation in Political Speech:
  • Legal standards for defamation require specific harm to be proven.
  • Political speech is protected by the Constitution to foster open discourse, even if it involves exaggeration or falsehoods.

Regarding your last question, as an AI, I don’t have personal experiences or emotions, so I don’t earn or receive grades. My purpose is to assist and provide information to the best of my abilities.

COMM 4301 UR Communication Questions



1. Most of us assume persuasive communication can be used for good or bad.Think of two examples of how it can be used in a harmful way.5 points



2.Several terms apply to the concept of communication.What is the difference between the following:

influence…..persuasion…….manipulation……and coercion?5 points

3.Cialdini lists 6 elements of persuasive communication. How can each be used to persuade, then provide a real-life example, preferably from your own experience.

a) social proof


b) reciprocity


c) scarcity


d) authority


e) likeability


f) commitment




4. When we feel obligated to respond because someone gives us a gift or a compliment, we are responding to the Rule of Reciprocity.Give an example of when this rule could be ignored.Should be ignored? 5 points




5.Catherine Genovese was murdered in New York in 1964.Over a period of 35 minutes her attacker returned repeatedly to stab her to death, but no one called the police, even though many witnesses saw what happened from their windows.Today we see domestic violence, road rage, and other issues popping up.Is there a circumstance where you would be willing to intervene in a dangerous situation to protect the life of someone who is vulnerable.If not, why not?5 points





6. By stepping out of his or her own frame of reference and into ours, the person who listens well acknowledges and affirms us. They “bear witness” to our lives. Why is this relevant to persuasive communication?

5 points





7. Social scientists use the term “social construction of reality” to describe how people come to an understanding between one another about what is real, or not.If we want to influence someone, can we “reconstruct reality,” and, if so, what does that imply about persuasive communication? In other words, can we mutually build a new reality between people? Would this tactic help heal the divisions that currently exist between people?

5 points



8.If you were thinking about hiring someone, would likeability make a difference in your decision?How could likeability skew your judgment? Why? 5 points




9.Donald Trump lost the Presidency to Joe Biden in 2020.Yet Trump, and millions of his followers are convinced the election was rigged, that Trump will be returned to power, and Biden will be thrown out.Other than Trump telling them so, which some news outlets refer to as “The Big Lie,” how could so many people be persuaded to believe this even though more than 60 lawsuits in various states were thrown out of court?

5 points




10.In thinking about lying and deceit we learned that most people believe deception is often part of the way we prefer to communicate, as opposed to always being truthful.Which of the following the following do you believe to be true?State why you think so.


(a) Both men and women who were told to appear likeable and competent told significantly less truthful than those who were not asked to present themselves in a particular way.

(b) The more socially skilled an adolescent was, the more effective he or she was at deceiving.

(c) Children and adults who are socially powerful (leaders) are also skilled at deceiving.

(d) People who showed more expressiveness and social tact were more successful at deception than those who had less skill in those areas.

(e) People who are polite and are trying not to hurt another person’s feelings are commonly associated with effective communication.

(f)Sometimes loved ones want us to perpetuate a lie, to hide the truth so as to avoid conflict

(g) Talking to a terminally ill child, when asked if he or she is going to die, may require a different approach than talking to an adult.



11. Writing about the concept of helping people believe in something that challenges their beliefs, C.S. Pierce said, “A closed mind is a happy mind, and your job (if you want to change their mind) is to make it a little less happy….doubt is unpleasant—belief feels good.”5 points

What do you think he meant by this statement?



12. I learned to sell things as a teenager.At that time, I assumed I was naturally talented in sales.Yet later I came to think that my customers/clients just liked me, that I was likeable, that my product/service was the best, and my sales ability didn’t really matter all that much.I never had any trouble getting a date and went out with many girls. I wound up marrying the girl voted most beautiful in my high school. I assumed I was just attractive and lucky, but my guy friends said it was because I owned my own car and had pocket money (A 1960 Ford Falcon 4-door with no AC, and a job that paid $1.50 an hour).But their “criticism” caused me to wonder. Have you ever doubted your likeability? How did you deal with it?



13. A new phenomenon has popped up in our society, especially on social media. Though celebrities and successful people have always been admired, and musicians and authors as well as some political leaders draw a following, we now have people who are called “influencers.”Some make a big living out of recommending products or services, as well as just dispensing advice (often not backed up by science or logic). One definition of an influencer is: An influencer is someone who can affect the buying decisions of others by sharing their opinions, expertise, or lifestyle on a specific niche topic. People who pay attention to what they have to say are called “followers.” Is this good for society?



14.Why is critical thinking an important part of a mature mind? Should everyone improve their critical thinking skills? And do you think that, as a professor, I should encourage students to learn to think critically?5 points





15.Defamation occurs when one party makes a false and damaging statement about another party.In legal terms the subject of the statement must have suffered harm, such as emotional, reputational, or monetary damages.Think about political speech and the tone of the last Presidential race.If this definition is true, how can political candidates say things about one another that are untrue or wildly exaggerated? Why is “political speech” protected by the Constitution? 5 points






Professors don’t give grades, students earn their grades. On this midterm, what do you think you have earned, based on the quality of your answers?

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