The Spiral of Silence
Wayne and Brad explore the cultural phenomenon researchers are calling the “spiral of silence” that demonstrates the truth behind the Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s new Clothes”. Simply put, people who want to avoid reprisal or isolation actually go along with the popular opinion around them even when it differs from their own. Instead of objecting, they spiral into silence so that a whole group of people can actually embrace what others want of them rather than risk the negative social judgment of their peers. The research is fascinating and helps explain why religious systems or communities can be caught up in a culture of conformity where everyone seems to agree, rather than making people feel safe especially where they might have questions and disagree.