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The Korean Society for Journalism & Communication Studies - Vol. 65 , No. 4

[ Article ]
Korean Journal of Journalism & Communication Studies - Vol. 65, No. 4, pp.148-184
Abbreviation: KSJCS
ISSN: 2586-7369 (Online)
Print publication date 31 Aug 2021
Received 07 Apr 2021 Revised 16 Jul 2021 Accepted 27 Jul 2021

우리가 침묵하는 이유 : 소셜미디어 여론에서 나타나는 침묵의 종류와 사회심리적 영향요인 연구
윤수진** ; 최진호*** ; 손동영****
**한양대학교 미디어커뮤니케이션학과 박사과정 수료
***한국언론진흥재단 미디어연구센터 선임연구위원
****한양대학교 미디어커뮤니케이션학과 교수

Why We Remain Silent : Socio-psychological factors influencing different types of silence in social media
Sujin Yoon** ; Jinho Choi*** ; Dongyoung Sohn****
**Doctoral Candidate, Department of Media & Communication, Hanyang University, first author (
***Senior Researcher, Media Research Center, Korea Press Foundation (
****Professor, Department of Media & Communication, Hanyang University, corresponding author (
Funding Information ▼


이 연구는 소셜미디어 여론에서 나타나는 침묵의 원인에 따라 체념적, 방어적, 친사회적 침묵으로 세분하고 이에 영향을 미치는 커뮤니케이션 변인과 개인의 인지적 특성을 탐구한다. 먼저 소셜미디어 환경에서 체념적, 방어적 침묵의 정도는 커뮤니케이션에 대한 두려움이 클수록 높아지는 것으로 나타났다. 반면 친사회적 침묵은 여론기후 지각과 커뮤니케이션 두려움의 상호작용에 따라 달라졌다 ― 자신이 소수에 속한다고 인식하는 경우에는 커뮤니케이션 두려움이 클 때 친사회적 침묵의 정도가 높게 나타난 반면, 다수에 속한다고 지각하는 경우에는 반대로 커뮤니케이션 두려움이 적을 때 친사회적 침묵이 높아지는 패턴이 발견됐다. 이러한 패턴은 개인의 자기통제 수준과도 유사한 관련을 보였는데, 자신의 의견이 소수에 속한다고 지각하는 사람은 자기통제가 강할 때, 다수에 속한다고 인식하는 사람은 반대로 자기통제가 약할 때 친사회적 침묵의 정도가 높았다. 같은 맥락에서 스스로를 다수로 지각하는 경우 집단정체성이 강할 때 자신과 내집단 보호를 위한 방어적 침묵이 높게 나타났다. 이러한 연구결과는 개인의 사회심리적 특성과 여론기후 상황에 대한 인식에 따라 침묵의 이유가 달라질 수 있다는 사실을 보여주는데, 침묵의 바탕에 놓인 상이한 이유는 이후 다양한 양상의 여론변화로 이어지는 단초가 될 수 있다는 점에서 주목할 필요가 있다.


The spiral of silence phenomenon has often been attributed to the effects of mass media. The emergence of networked environments, such as social media, however, makes the spiraling dynamics far more complex and unpredictable than before. While being silent was previously taken as a sign of compliance resulting from the fear of social isolation, social media users may feel reluctant to speak out or may intentionally choose to remain silent for various reasons and purposes. Particularly in social media, individuals may not want to express their opinions for different reasons, such as lurking (i.e., read messages and others’ post, but seldom write themselves) or as an implicit expression of disagreement. This suggests that silence may not be attributed to a single psychological motive or reason, but arises from a mixture of motivational and situational influences in the social media environment. The aim of this study is to re-illuminate the concept of silence as a conscious choice that individuals make in a given situation, by examining the factors that influence three different types of silence—namely acquiescent, defensive, and prosocial silence—in the context of public opinion processes in social media. An online survey was administered to selected Facebook users and a MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance) was carried out to analyze the data obtained. First, the degrees of acquiescent and defensive silence in the social media environment were found to increase when the level of communication apprehension was higher, while the degree of prosocial silence varied depending on the interaction between communication apprehension and perceived opinion climate. When communication apprehension was lower, the degree of prosocial silence turned out higher among people in the majority. When communication apprehension was higher, on the contrary, prosocial silence went up among those in the minority. Similar patterns were also found in relation to self-control—the degree of prosocial silence went up when people with higher self-control were in the minority and those with lower self-control in the majority. Likewise, group identity was found to moderate the effects of perceived opinion climates on the degree of defensive silence. Overall, the results show that there exist different types of silence with various underlying reasons, which are in conjunction with diverse socio-psychological, situational, and contextual factors related to public opinion processes. The presence of different types of silence can make the unfolding of public opinion more dynamic and unpredictable, which requires a systematic attempt to identify them.

Keywords: social media, silence, perceived opinion climate, communication apprehension, cognitive characteristics
키워드: 소셜미디어, 침묵, 여론기후 지각, 커뮤니케이션 심리, 인지적 특성


This work was derived from the master’s thesis of the first author and supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT: Ministry of Science and ICT) (No.2018R1A5A7059549). (이 논문은 제1저자의 한양대학교 석사학위논문을 토대로 재구성 및 발전된 연구이며, 2018년도 정부(과학기술정보통신부)의 재원으로 한국연구재단의 지원을 받아 수행된 연구임)

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