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Spiral of Silence and Science

Now in its fourth decade since first proposed by German pollster Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, spiral of silence or SOS theory continues to attract interest and maintain its relevance today. The theory spans individual, organizational, and societal levels; assumes a social constructionist stance (that is, it assumes that reality as we perceive it is socially produced); and includes elements of both mediated and interpersonal communication. It has as its core the notion that one's own opinions and (in particular) one's willingness to express them is influenced by others' opinions. While not specifically a theory of media influence, SOS theory rests in part on an understanding of people's dependence on the media for information—including information about what other people seem to be thinking.

In its simpler, static form, the ...

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