An Experimental Study of the Door in the Face Technique

Topics: Experiment, Confounding, Stanford prison experiment Pages: 11 (2260 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Social Psychology

Experiment Replication (Group Project)

An experimental Study of The Door in the Face Technique

Date: 28/4/2009

Door in the face technique is a persuasion method in which a requester first asked an extreme request (which was refused) and then a smaller request. Our experiment was conducted to test the effectiveness of door in the face technique for inducing compliance with different strategies when giving requests. Hong Kong Community College (HKCC) students were randomly assigned to two conditions with or without the use of door in the face technique. We have predicted that a higher percentage of HKCC students would accept the actual request when door in the face technique was applied. The result of the experiment shows that the use of door in the face technique would actually increase the acceptance rates of actual request. Thus, this proves the effectiveness of the door in the face technique.

Persuasion plays an important role in interpersonal communication, especially in negotiation. By common supposition, acceptance of request generally depends on one’s attitude towards self-interest, ability, availability of time and so forth. However, from psychological viewpoints, one’s behavior must align with one’s attitude, otherwise, unpleasant psychological discomfort may result. Door in the face technique actually utilize this kind of discomfort. In order to remove the discomfort, one would change his or her behavior so that behavior aligns with attitude. Through the experiment, we investigate the effectiveness of “door in the face technique”.

An experiment conducted by Cialdini et al (1975), demonstrated the effectiveness of door in the face technique. It was proven to be an effective method to achieve compliance by first making the participants reject a demanding extreme request, and then lure the participants into accepting a smaller actual request.

To prove the effectiveness of the technique, we would like to replicate the above experiment. In our study, we requested the participants to answer our questionnaire by applying the door in the face technique. We predicted that more participants would accept answering the questionnaire (actual request) if they were first asked to help collect data on the pavement for thirty minutes (an extreme request), when compared with the absence of door in the face technique whereas the participants are only asked to perform the actual request.

Twelve participants were randomly selected based on a set location, time period and demographics. Participants selected were students of both sexes, six boys and six girls, from HKCC, who were walking along the pavement adjacent to Royal Peninsula during 9am-1:00pm on weekdays. To be specific, only the participants walking alone within the timeframe of 15 minutes before and after class were selected.

Participants meeting the above requirements were randomly approached by a student-experimenter who initiated a conversation by first introducing himself or herself as a HKCC student. Then, each experimenter made either extreme request before the actual request or just made the actual request alone.

Participants were randomly assigned in two groups with two different conditions. They are rejection-moderation condition and smaller request only control.

Rejection-moderation condition (Experimental Group).
Each participant in this condition heard an experimenter first make the extreme request. The extreme request asked each participant to spare thirty minutes of his/her time to count the numbers of HKCC students jaywalking near the traffic light adjacent to the Royal Peninsula. Specifically, the experimenter said:

We’re currently working on a study of Pedestrian Safety among College Students. We lack the manpower to...
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