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Spiral of Silence

Spiral of silence theory, first developed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1916–2010), claims that opinions perceived to be the view of the majority have greater influence over people, in part because people feel pressure to hide their views when they sense the majority does not agree. Noelle-Neumann developed the theory as part of research to explain why when election polls indicated an even balance between the two main parties, one of them was recurrently mentioned as a likely winner in the election, a fact subsequently confirmed by a significant electoral victory. In these cases, voting intentions expressed in polls did not always match the voters’ actual opinions, with many respondents preferring to avoid expressing their true opinion. According to Noelle-Neumann, the general environment of opinion depended crucially ...

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