Spiral of Silence - Explained
What is the Spiral of Silence?
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What is the Spiral of Silence Method?
The Spiral of Silence method, proposed by Noelle-Neumann, is a model which envisions public opinion as a social control and explains the pressure which people are noticing to conceal their views, when they think that they are in the minority.
Conversely, the closer a person believes the opinion held is similar to the prevailing public opinion, the more he is willing to openly disclose that opinion in public.
Assumptions of the Spiral of Silence Method?
The framework is based on three assumptions:
- People have a "quasi-statistical organ", a sixth-sense, which allows them to know the prevailing public opinion. Even without access to polls.
- People have a fear of isolation and know what behaviors will increase the likelihood of being socially isolated.
- People are reticent to express their minority views. Primarily out of fear of being isolated.
Then, if public sentiment changes, the person will recognize that the opinion is less in favor. Now he will be less willing to express that opinion publicly. If the perceived distance between public opinion and a person's personal opinion grows, that person will be less likely to want to express his opinion.