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The multiple meanings of silence in social psychology

Dat Bao

Article ID: 2058
Vol 8, Issue 3, 2023, Article identifier:

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Drawing on research-based discourse, this article provides an updated overview of what silence means in social psychology. Such meanings can be viewed from an interpersonal dimension and an intrapersonal dimension. That is, silence can be externally or internally generated. The external process sees silence as a response to the social environment, while the internal process views silence as an individual choice. The article argues that silence has a sociological nature. When a silent person sends out a silent message to the public (such as showing resistance or alienation), this person not only expresses their personal view but also acts on behalf of others. The article rests on the ideal of sociological imagination to argue that an individual’s issue of concern or trouble, seemingly a limited social experience, may not be a single case but can represent the concern of a group or a society. This means that the lives of individuals can signify the status and reaction of their community. By presenting silence from various individual perspectives, the article showcases the richness of what silence means and what it does in social contexts.



silence; choice; culture; power; dialogue; protection; isolation; withdrawal; solitude

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