People in a freezer. Self-perception as an explanatory mechanism for the effectiveness of the foot-in-the-door technique

Open access

People in a freezer. Self-perception as an explanatory mechanism for the effectiveness of the foot-in-the-door technique

According to the foot-in-the-door technique of social influence, everyone who wants to increase the likelihood of having their request fulfilled by another person should first present that person with an easier request. Granting the easier request will make that person more inclined to fulfill the subsequent escalated request. The results of numerous studies confirm this rule. In the psychological literature it is usually assumed that this is possible thanks to the self-perception mechanism. People who comply with an easy request cannot find any external explanation for doing so and therefore draw the auxiliary conclusion that they are "people for whom it is normal to grant such requests". The author of this article, however, points out that the self-perception thesis implicitly assumes no impact of any other types of requests on the individual between the times they hear the two requests posed by the psychologists-researchers. Two simple studies presented here demonstrate that people are normally faced with several requests every day, of which some they fulfill and some reject. This constitutes a serious challenge for the self-perception interpretation of the foot-in-the-door technique.

Beaman, A. L., Cole, C. M., Preston, M., Klentz, B., & Steblay, N. M. (1983). Fifteen years of foot-in-the-door research: A meta analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9, 181-196.

Bem, D. J. (1967). Self-perception theory: An alternative interpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena. Psychological Review, 74, 183-200.

Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. In: L. Berkowitz (Ed.) Advances in experimental social psychology, vol. 6. (pp. 1-62). New York: Academic Press.

Burger, J. M. (1999). The foot-in-the-door compliance procedure: A multiple process analysis and review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3, 303-325.

Burger, J. M., & Caldwell, D. F. (2003). The effects of monetary incentives and labeling on the foot-in-the-door effect: Evidence for a self-perception process. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 25, 235-241.

Campbell, J. D. (1990). Self-esteem and clarity of the self-concept. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 538-549.

DeJong, W., & Musilli, L. (1982). External pressure to comply. Handicapped vs. nonhandicapped requesters and the foot-in-the-door phenomenon. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 8, 522-527.

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

Goldman, B. M. (2006). Making diamonds out of coal: The role of authenticity in healthy (optimal) self-esteem and psychological functioning. In: M. H. Kernis (Ed.) Self -esteem issues and answers. A sourcebook of current perspectives. (pp. 132-139). New York: Psychology Press.

Gorassini, D. R., & Olson, J. M. (1995). Does self-perception change explain the foot-in-the -door effect? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 91-105.

Heisenberg, W. (1958). Physics and philosophy. New York: Harper.

Zuckerman, M., Lazzaro, M. M., & Waldgeir, D. (1979). Undermining effects of the foot-in -the-door technique with extrinsic rewards. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 9, 292-296.

Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

Journal Information


CiteScore 2016: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.185
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.258

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 264 256 24
PDF Downloads 102 100 8