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Opposing Opinions and Behavior Modification

Opposing Opinions and Behavior Modification

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Published by Moiah ZaTaiya

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Published by: Moiah ZaTaiya on Oct 02, 2013
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Opposing Opinions and Behavior ModificationKatherine M. Goodman
Moiah Faulkner-Wheeler Queens University 0f Charlotte
Opposing Opinions 2
The research topic of college students and their reaction to an unfamiliar environment is a broad topicthat yields little scientific conclusion and we wanted to create a study in which we will be able to quantitativelytest the relationship between students and an opposing environment. We decided that the topic of politics wasemotionally laden enough to provide the type of atmosphere that would facilitate a recognizable reaction if saidreaction was applicable. The plausibility of a student being involved in a political conversation in which peersexpress opposing opinions is higher in an academic setting than most other places that facilitate discussion andwe considered this to be an understood factor in regards to our sampling measurements.
“It has been suggeste
d that if most people fear social isolation it is not isolation from some general
amorphous public but only from specific groups to which they are attracted and want to belong” (Lasor 
sa, 1991, p. 131). The theory, Spiral of Silence,
also states “that one‟s perception of the distribution of public opinionmotivates one‟s willingness to express political opinions” (Taylor, 2001, p. 311). Depending on one‟s
surroundings, they may or may not express their beliefs or even their true beliefs. Fear of isolation is associatedwith one making neutral comments that do not state their opinion; acting as though one is clueless (playing
dumb), lie, and just plainly avoid the conversation (Neuwirth, Frederick, & Mayo, 2007). “Decisions to speak 
ut can also be influenced by such factors as a person‟s knowledge about the topic, interest in political mattersor public affairs, importance or salience of the topic to the person, confidence in the „„correctness‟‟ of one‟sopinion, the extremity of one‟
s opinion, communication apprehension and shyness, and the extent to which
one‟s opinion is based on moral principle” (Hayes, 2007, p. 786).
 College students who have opposing political opinions/beliefs to the majority of peers may be facedtheoretically with circumstances that cause them to alter their normal communication behavior. This concept isknown as the fear of isolation and is one of the key concepts within the Spiral of Silence theory. This theorywas developed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann after observing German election opinion polls and the unforeseenoutcome that transpired from the political race. Miller (2002) states that: Theorists associated with Spiral of Silence Theory argue that due to their enormous power, the mass media have a lasting effect on public opinion.
Opposing Opinions 3
The theory maintains that mass media work simultaneously with Majority public opinion to silence minority beliefs on cultural issues. A fear of isolation prompts those with minority views to examine the beliefs of others.Individuals who fear being socially isolated are prone to conform to what they perceive to be a majority view.(p.172)Although the scholarly scope of this theory tends to focus on the mass media
s relationship withopinion, we have directed the application of research purposes to the individual relationships maintained withina definitive area of demographic similarity; students for example. We can conclude that the fear of isolation isapplicable on a scale capable of measurement by us through surveys of student populations located on theQueens University campus. The direct reaction of the
acknowledgement to the opposing opinion from peers and their decision to not involve themselves based on the fe
ar that the group‟s reaction to minority
opinion will inevitably cause judgment, seclusion, and isolation from your group. The hypotheses we are proposing will determine the a
ctual likelihood of the student‟s r 
eaction to peer opposition.
Spiral of Silence Theory crated by Elisabeth Noelle-Nueman states
“the term spiral of silence refers to
the increasing pressure people feel to conceal their views when they think they are in t
he minority” (Noelle
- Nueman 372). This theory is the basis behind the study being quantitatively discussed as to the findingsderived through survey research analysis. The foundation on which this theory was built upon is the idea of 
 propaganda and more particularly the propaganda surrounding Nazi Germany and Hitler‟s time in power.
 Nueman was well aware of the level of exposure that people were being subjected to. “
Quasi-staticalorgan is a sixth sense that tallies up information about what society in general is thinki
ng and feeling”
(Noelle-Nueman, 373) and by observing how the Nazi propaganda machine was able to do exactly what isset out to do, create a conformist society, she used these observations to initiate the now labeled spiral of silence theory of communication.

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