ERIC Number: ED396345
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Creating a Spiral of Silence through Disproportionate Exemplar Distribution: Does It Work?
Perry, Stephen D.
A study used disproportionate exemplar distributions to create a spiral of silence effect for a morally loaded issue. The effect of perception of public opinion on willingness to express an opinion was also examined. Three video news stories were created that would represent either a supporting, balanced, or opposing stance on the prayer in school issue. A news anchor's lead-in from a local newscast was used in all three stories, and an actor's voice simulated a reporter covering the issue. Video of students praying in school was used to accompany the voice. Six participants previewed the videos; none noticed anything unusual about the manipulated versions. College students were recruited (for extra credit) for an experimental session--20 exposure sessions averaged 4.9 participants in each. Participants were shown 3 news stories; the second story focused on a proposed prayer in school amendment. Questionnaires on public opinion--participants were asked if they agreed or disagreed with each of the 3 issues--also contained questions on the newscasts' quality. Demographic information about the respondents was collected, including data on media usage, gender, and political affiliation. Results revealed that the spiral of silence theory fell short in explaining effects on "debate expression," although some support for spiral of silence effects was found on "public display expression." This study may encourage the adoption of further behavioral response research related to expression; it also helped shed light on the different forms the expression construct may assume. (Contains 6 tables of data and 40 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: News Stories; Research Suggestions; Spiral of Silence Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Broadcast Education Association (41st, Las Vegas, NV, April 12-15, 1996).