People are afraid of being rejected, or isolated , from the group.
Because of this fear, the minority opinion is kept quiet , appearing to become even less widely supported, causing less willingness of others to express that particular opinion, and eventually silencing the opinion altogether .
But how do people know what the “majority opinion” is? The mass media provides a picture of the dominantly accepted social norms, customs, styles of clothing, and what to think/believe.
We are all exposed to the mass media in at least one way or another
You are using the internet to view my presentation at this very moment!
Therefore, we are all at risk of… the spiral of silence effect.
Unless, of course, you are a HARDCORE : A person who is not effected by social pressure and does not fear isolation from the crowd, and therefore holds a strong, unchanging position. *Presenter's Choice…
Strong enough to DEFEAT the spiral of silence effect!
But Critics Want to Know... Does this theory apply to other cultures? Or is it specific to its country of origin, Germany? Is “f e ar of isolation” really the main factor of willingness to express opinion in experimental studies? Is the hypothetical nature of these studies appropriate to examine spiral of silence?
These unanswered questions will serve as motivation for further research into spiral of silence in years to come.