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Foot-in-the-door and Door-in-the-face Technique Research Paper

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Introduction

Effectiveness of door-in-the-face and foot-in-the-door techniques of increasing compliance while making request varies slightly. Relatively significant difference in the percentage effect of using these two methods compared to control is high. People are expected to comply with a specified request than when the task is unspecified. Most people do not easily accept unspecified requests even if they are simple tasks.

However, significant difference in the rates of accepting are seen when the request is specified. Multiple studies have show significant increase in compliance when Door-in –the-face and foot-in-the door techniques are used (Rodafinos, Vucevic & Sideridis, 2005; Dillard, 1990).

When an extremely large request is made to a person, he/she is likely to decline. When a relatively smaller request is made after, more people comply as compared to when no request had been made earlier. Exposure to an initial, large request could cause subjects to perceive a subsequent, smaller request as less demanding than would subjects who had never been exposed to the large request; consequently, the former type of subject are expected to comply more with the critical request (Cialdini et al. 1974).

Door-in-the-face techniques are effective on their own way compared to request in control conditions. Obtaining a person’s compliance using a small favor increase the chances of that person’s compliance with a subsequent larger request by 15 to 25% (Dillard, 1990). When the required request task is large, people comply when a simple request precede the actual request which is bigger.

In this study, students of the same sex were targeted by individual to make the conditions constant. This strategy would lead to increased positive results for all the studies.

More positive results makes the analysis more accurate. Perception of an incidental similarity to the requester can lead to increase in compliance among participants (Heider, 1958). For that reason, students who requested the favors were required to do so to same sex students who are not known to them. The power of incidental similarities has been proved to be effective over the years by several researchers.

The results of these experiments were obtained by several students and that means that the marginal error is very small. Therefore, the results obtained give an almost perfect interpretation and conclusion. This research is expected to clearly shows the difference between the effectiveness of these techniques when all other factors are kept constant.

The aim of this study is to establish the effectiveness of foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face techniques when used to increase compliance while making a request.

Method

Control condition

Participants in this experiment where 59 students. 47 where females, while the remaining 12 were males. One participant was interviewed by one student.

Procedure- Each student approached one same-sex student who was not known to them. Each student carried a stack of papers in an envelope and asked the students if they were willing to help fill a questionnaire for the student to finish a class experiment. If a student accepted and asked the time to fill the questionnaire, the results were recorded. The student was then asked to give his or her email address to be used to contact later. The email was discarded immediately after the student left.

Foot-in-the-door Condition

Participants; 59 students where interview for this experiments where 47 were females, and 12 were males.

Procedure- Each student approached one same-sex student who was not known to them. Each student carried a stack of papers in an envelope and asked the students if they were willing to help to answer a few questions. If the student agreed, the result was recorded then he or she was asked the following question.

Do you think alcohol should be banned at sporting events to control violence?

YES / NO / UNDECIDED

Do you think books should be replaced with digital copies?

YES / NO / UNDECIDED

The student was then asked if he or she would help to fill a questionnaire. If the student asked “when?” the results were recorded and the student was asked to give his or her email address so that he/she can be contacted later. The email was discarded immediately after the student left.

Door-in-the-face Condition

Participants; 59 students where interview for this experiments where 47 were females, and males were 12.

Procedure; Each student approached one same-sex student who was not known to them. Each student carried a stack of papers in an envelope and asked the students if they were willing to volunteer for two hours in the evening sessions to help finish a psychology experiment. If the student said “YES,” he or she was left then another student was asked the same question then results for both students were recorded and then the student was asked to write her email so that she can be contacted later.

The email address was discarded after the student left. If the student said “NO” the results were recorded and the asked if he or she would help to fill another questionnaire which takes 30 minutes. If the student asked “when,” the results were recorded. The student was asked to give his or her email to be contacted later. The email was discarded immediately after the student left. For all the three experiments, sex of each student was recorded.

Results

The results obtained in the experiments were tabulated (see table1 and 2). The results obtained were then interpreted using Chi squire analysis.

Study 1: Control conditions

Out of the total number of students (n=59) who were involved in the experiment, 28 students said YES. This represent 47.5% of the total number experimented. The remaining 31 students said NO. This number represents 52.5% of the students experimented.

Study 2- Foot-in-the-door Condition

Out of the total number of students (n=59) who were involved in the experiment, 41 students said YES. This number represented 69.5% of the total number experimented. The remaining 18 students said “NO.” this number represented 30.5% of the students who participated in the experiment.

Study 3: Door-in-the-face Condition

Out of the total number of students (n=59) who were involved in the experiment, 36 students said YES. This represent 61% of the total number experimented. The remaining in 23 students said NO. This number represented 39% of the students who participated in the experiment.

Chi squire analysis was used to find out if there was significant difference of “Yes” against “No.” the standard deviations of the obtained data where as given below for each conditions;

χ2 = 6.04, df = 2, p<.05

To find where the difference is, chi square is conducted for each pair.

Control vs. Foot-in-the-door

χ2 = 5.89, df = 1, p<.01

The results of Chi squire analysis indicate that there was a significant difference in the proportion of “yes” vs. “no” elicited in the control vs. face conditions. In the results, yes percentage is 47.5% for control condition and 69.5% for Face condition (see table 2).

Control vs. Door-in the-face

χ2 = 2.18, df = 1, p=.139

the results in the analysis shows that there was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of “yes” vs. “no” between control and door conditions as seen in the results where Yes percentage for control condition is 47.5% and 61% for door condition (see table 1)

Door-in-the-face vs. Foot-in-the-door

Χ2 = 0.93, df = 1, p=0.334

The figures above shows that there was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of “yes” vs. “no” between Foot-in-the-door and Door-in-the-face conditions as seen in the results. There was 61% Yes response for Door-in-the-face condition and 69.5% Yes for Foot-in-the-door conditions (see table 2).

Discussion

Control condition recorded the lowest levels of compliance among the participants in this study. The results support the hypothesis of the research. Findings paint pictures of cognitively thrifty individuals relying on relatively effortless shortcuts as they encounter daily onslaught of efforts to change their attitudes and behavior (Cialdini, 2001). In this condition, most students are not willing to find out how much the experiment is going to cost them.

Results in these studies revealed expected phenomena: coherently placed participants satisfied the second request easily in foot-to-the-door experiment. Commonness of the request made is the main technique making foot-to-the-door effective in its own way. The results cohere with the assumptions made at the beginning of the research and shows that it is not the commonness but positioning coherence that affects the effectiveness of this technique.

The common questions asked by the students in the first request enabled the second request to be complied with because of positioning. According to Zalewski (2010), an uncommon request cannot change effectiveness of the technique in either coherent or incoherent positions. The findings show existence of positioning phenomenon. Uncommon request supposedly increase effectiveness of the technique.

However, when the position factor is introduced, the effect may disappear. Greater effectiveness occurs if there is coherent positioning and uncommon request. Position should activate self-perception and fulfill the second request. Nevertheless, this does not always happen.

This can be attributed to common request being adequately rooted in situations context and activates common positions. However, uncommon requests are directed at positions not easily accessible in a given context. This kind of understanding shows the effectiveness of positioning with common requests (Zalewski, 2010).

From the findings, door-in-the-face technique proves to be more effective. Making a large request initially which one is sure that it will be rejected increases the chances of compliance for a subsequent lesser request. These findings support the hypothesis of this research. For this method to be effective, the same requester has to present both extreme and small requests to be effective.

The findings correlate well with evidence that people are consistent in their response to requests and favors (Freedman & Fraser, 1966). While using this technique, the requester is not limited to making small favors. However, it is necessary that the critical request is smaller than the initial one so that reciprocal concessions mechanism becomes applicable.

Freedman and Fraser (1966) found similar tendencies for consistency for foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face which explains the insignificant differences in proportions of Yes. In this study, requesting a student to help finish an assignment in a two hour evening session may sound too much.

When the second request is made, the compliance increases because the request is smaller than the first one. This explains the higher compliance percentage compared to control and foot-in-the-door technique (see table 2). Most participants feel they should comply with at least one request; therefore, the smaller request which is second is preferred.

Foot-in-the-door technique proved to be slightly more effective compared to Door-in-the-face technique. However, both techniques exhibited increased effectiveness from control as expected (see table 1 and 2). The difference in their percentage effectiveness is small signifying that there is no considerable difference in their proportions. Foot-in-the-door has a significant difference with control. This means that the method is more effective than door-in-the-face which has no significant difference with control.

Reference List

Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Influence: Science and practice (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Cialdini, R. B., Vincent, J. E., Lewis, S. K., Catalan, J. Wheeler, D. and Darby, B. L. (1974). Reciprocal Concessions Procedure for Inducing Compliance: The Door-in-the-Face Technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 206-215.

Dillard, J. (1990). Self-inference and the foot-in-the-door technique: Quantity of behavior and attitudinal mediation, Human Communication Research, 16, 422-447.

Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 195-202.

Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: John Wiley.

Rodafinos, A., Vucevic, A. & Sideridis, G. (2005). The Effectiveness of Compliance Techniques: Foot in the Door versus Door in the Face. The Journal of Social Psychology, 145, 237–240.

Zalewski, B. (2010). Positioning and the ‘Foot-In-The-Door’ Social Influence Technique. International Journal for Dialogical Science, 4, 61-73.

Appendixes

Appendix 1

Yes No Total
Control 28 31 59
Face 41 18 59
Door 36 23 59
Total 105 72 177

Table 1: results of study of effectiveness of Door-in-the-face and Foot-in-the-door techniques of obtaining compliance for requests. The results were by 59 students for each study, one student interview another student of same sex.

Appendix 2

Yes No
Control 47.5% 52.5%
Face 69.5% 30.5%
Door 61.0% 39.0%

Table2: results of the study in percentage

Appendix 3

Graph of effectiveness of Door-in the face and Foot-in-the-door techniques in relation to control conditions

Figure 1: Graph of effectiveness of Door-in the face and Foot-in-the-door techniques in relation to control conditions

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