Abstract

This study examines two possible factors that might contribute to the weak empirical standing of the spiral of silence theory: not paying attention to the timing of the test and the inadequate operationalization of the independent variable. It is argued that testing the silence hypothesis per se is inconsistent with the spiral of silence framework. The spiral of silence is strictly conditioned by a host of factors. Thus, the phenomenon may only be detected if and when it actually occurs. Moreover, operationalizing the independent variable as one’s (in)congruity with the perceived opinion climate is conceptually inconsistent with the theoretical framework. The findings demonstrate how a spiral of silence may go undetected due to inadequate timing or an inadequate independent measure.

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