ERIC Number: ED235528
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
The Spiral of Silence Ten Years Later: An Examination and Evaluation.
Salmon, Charles T.; Kline, F. Gerald
In her model of opinion formation, Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann postulates a spiral of silence: to avoid isolation, people holding minority views either alter their ideas to conform to the majority's stance or remain silent, thus increasing the impression of the majority view's dominance. While providing a helpful integration of disparate ideas in public opinion formation, Noelle-Neumann's framework has been questioned at a number of points. Is it reasonable to assume that since people fear isolation, most fear being in the minority? Research suggests, in fact, that many people can oppose majority views as long as they have individual or group support and that interpersonal relationships have a greater impact on opinion formation than impersonal public opinion presented via the media. Recent studies have also offered an alternative to Noelle-Neumann's view of people as simply reacting to their perception of public opinion, suggesting that instead, people use their own opinions to form their perceptions of public attitudes. Whether people's behavior resembles the reaction or projection model may depend on a number of conditions, including their familiarity with the issue. Further research is needed on the many factors influencing opinion formation. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Dallas, TX, May 26-30, 1983).