Spiral of Silence

This one is very interesting and you can try with your friends/family.

There is a theory called Spiral of silence which observes the fact that ” one opinion becomes dominant as those who perceive their opinion to be in the minority do not speak up because society threatens individuals with fear of isolation.”
When someone perceives his/her opinion as in the minority, he/she tends to omit or even change it. Humans fear social isolation and want to be part of strong groups, those which will win, the majority (even so, in researches there is always 5% of individuals who do not omit or change opinions: they tend to be the opinion leaders).


In a macro level, it can influence voting results, laws to be adopted or who’s the next president.

You can feel the micro level of it by trying this:
01. Invite to go to the movies that friend who is really optimistic about some movie (he/she read good reviews, loved the trailler, like the director/actors, etc)
02. Invite other two or three friends and tell them to show disappointment about the movie after the exhibition (regardless their true opinion about it).
03. After the exhibition, ask your optimistic friend about its opinion. He/she will probably say nice things
04. (You and your other friends) Say things like “I was expecting more”, “I don’t think it was that great”, “It could be better”, “The negative reviews were right”
05. Watch your friend’s reaction
06. If he/she don’t change his/her opinion right away, ask again for it the day after.

He/she will probably start to feel uncomfortable with his/her own opinion and constrained. Maybe he/she try to convince you (then keep strong, no need to argue back and try not to offend him/her), maybe he/she just start to agree with you all.
But it’s very likely that your friend changes its opinion until the day after…

…specially if he/she don’t talk/read about it with anyone else. This is important because the Spiral of Silence is all about perceptions, and not true reality. Your friend must think that the majority didn’t like the movie. If he/she find out you and your tricky friends areminority, he/she can go back to his/her original opinion.

And that’s other interesting thing about this theory: sometimes what is perceived as majority is, actually, just a loud minority. Think about it.


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