Spiral of Silence

Topics: Old age, Middle age, Gerontology Pages: 4 (1252 words) Published: July 8, 2013
The spiral of silence theory propounded by Noelle-Neumann is one of the few theories in communication that focuses on public opinion. The theoretical work Spiral of Silence which was published sought to investigate and understand why people choose to suppress their opinions if they believe that it is in the minority. Her research sprung out of her curiosity as to why the citizens in Germany remained generally silent during the war when years later they claimed to have been actually against the ideas of the Nazis all along.

The theory describes the process in which one opinion becomes dominant because the minority who holds a differing opinion do not speak up. Noelle-Neumann (1984) defines public opinion as “attitudes one can express without running into the danger of isolating oneself”. There are three key ideas of the theory: Firstly, individuals use an innate ability known as “quasi-statistical sense” to gauge the prevailing popularity of an opinion. Secondly, people feel a need to conceal there feelings because of the fear of isolation. Finally, out of the fear of being isolated, people become reticent to voice their minority views. The theory also explains that individuals will look at his social environment before giving an opinion, assessing the strength and chances of success of other's viewpoints. The more a person perceives their opinion to be showing a decline in public opinion, the less likely he will be to sharing his stance.

Dating back to centuries ago when Singapore was still under the colonial British rule, homosexuality has been illegal. Decades later in this age and era, the law has not changed. What has changed, is that the gay community in this city has become more prominent, with attitudes gradually changing to be more favorable. An extensive study revealed that the number of positive attitudes in Singapore rose from 22.9 per cent in 2005 to 25.3 per cent in 2010 (Nanyang Technological University, 2013). As seen from the statistics,...
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