Silencing fellow citizens: Conceptualization, measurement, and validation of a scale for measuring the belief in the importance of actively silencing others.

Yariv Tsfati, Shira Dvir-Gvirsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While the free expression of ideas is considered essential for democratic life, some citizens think that it is important to silence those with whom they disagree. In this article, we conceptualize the belief in the importance of silencing others as an individual difference and define it as people's belief that it is not only legitimate but also important and necessary to tell other people to refrain from expressing their political views. We propose a scale for measuring this construct, and test its validity and psychometric properties in two studies in Israel. Study 1 (n = 485) is a 2-wave study, with Wave 1 conducted in the midst of the Israel–Gaza 2014 conflict and Wave 2 conducted 3 months after the war. We established that the scale was reliable, stable, and distinct from relevant and related constructs such as political intolerance, authoritarianism, and support for government censorship but also logically correlated with them. In Study 2 (n = 177), convergent validity was demonstrated using a set of responses to online comments to a news story. Those scoring high on the scale tended to support writing to the editor and requesting the removal of comments with which they disagreed. They also favored writing to the authors of these comments and making clear to them that their views were unacceptable. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-419
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • *Attitude Measures
  • *Political Attitudes
  • *Test Construction
  • *Test Validity
  • *Free Speech
  • Public Opinion

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