Pluralistic ignorance occurs when a population believes that the majority has one opinion, where in reality they share similar opinions but do not say anything about them. The book gave the example of racism and segregation. When taking an anonymous survey, most whites admitted that they did not agree with the segregation laws, but they believed that most whites did so they said nothing about it. Pluralistic ignorance is a tricky thing to pin down, because most people are afraid to give an opinion that is against what they think the majority believes.
The internet can be a useful tool in changing this pluralistic ignorance. I’ve seen many internet characters who will give an opinion they believe in even if they think it isn’t popular, and people will comment and slowly people realize that many people agree with them. It is also easy on the internet to post something anonymously or with a screen name that no one will recognize. That also gives people courage to post an opinion without it being traced directly back to them. Books are also a great medium to break this pluralistic ignorance because you can always write a book with a fake name, and in the technological world anyone can access a book online. You can also publish small pamphlets online that don’t necessarily need to be the length of a book. In today’s media it is very easy to express unpopular opinions and thus destroy the pluralistic ignorance described in Smarter Than You Think.
© Despicable Me minion meme
© Marvel Universe Comics, Deadpool.