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Communication Theory and Millennial Popular Culture

Essays and Applications

Kathleen Glenister Roberts

Theories help to troubleshoot gaps in our understanding, and to make sense of a world that is constantly changing. What this book tries to do, in part, is blur the lines between the differences between today’s college students – the millennial generation – and their professors, many of whom hail from the Boom Generation and Generation X.
In the following chapters, contributors build upon what both parties already know. Writing in a highly accessible yet compelling style, contributors explain communication theories by applying them to «artifacts» of popular culture. These «artifacts» include Lady Gaga, Pixar films, The Hunger Games, hip hop, Breaking Bad, and zombies, among others. Using this book, students will become familiar with key theories in communication while developing creative and critical thinking. By experiencing familiar popular culture artifacts through the lens of critical and interpretive theories, a new generation of communication professionals and scholars will hone their skills of observation and interpretation – pointing not just toward better communication production, but better social understanding.
Professors will especially enjoy the opportunities for discussion this book provides, both through the essays and the «dialogue boxes» where college students provide responses to authors’ ideas.
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18. Hook, Line, and Sinker—Theories of Interpersonal Deception and Manipulation in Catfish



Hook, Line, and Sinker—Theories of Interpersonal Deception and Manipulation in Catfish

Holly Holladay & Sara Trask

Jarrod was a young, single father who was recently divorced from his high school sweetheart. Although he was pessimistic about finding love again, he did so in Abby, a beautiful woman whom he met on Facebook. There was only one catch: despite multiple attempts to arrange a meeting, he had never met Abby in person. Because of these repeated failed attempts, Jarrod became suspicious that Abby was not disclosing the entire truth about herself. Was it possible that Abby was not, in fact, who she said she was? Could she be lying about her identity?

Lying is a fact of daily life. In fact, college students admit they intentionally try to mislead someone in one of every three social interactions (DePaulo, Kashy, Kirkendol, Wyer, & Epstein, 1996). Individuals routinely engage in acts of deception in order to benefit themselves in some way, often trying to present themselves more favorably to others (Burgoon & Buller, 2008; DePaulo & Kashy, 1998). Two theories that help us understand deception in relationships are Interpersonal Manipulation Theory (IMT) and Interpersonal Deception Theory (IDT).

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