Year of Publication

2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Communication and Information Studies

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Derek R. Lane

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation is to further an understanding of the spiral of silence theory as it functions within both face-to-face (FtF) and computer-mediated contexts. Computer-mediated communication (CMC is often touted for being an empowering medium as it affords its users anonymity. This finding could have an impact on whether the spiral of silence occurs within CMC. Previous studies have relied upon hypothetical scenarios and have established weak support for the theory. Despite this study’s utilization of a within-subjects experimental design, however, no significant differences in minority opinion holders’ fear of isolation were found. Similarly, no significant relationship was found between minority opinion holders’ attention paid to news and fear of isolation. In regards to both majority and minority opinion holders, no significant differences in perceptions of opinions expressed in either condition were found. Reasons for such unexpected findings, as well as strengths, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

Included in

Communication Commons

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