The Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon
Carol A. Scott, Jonathan L. Freedman & Scott C. Fraser
People are more likely to comply with a larger favor if a smaller favor is asked first.
The Foot-in-the-Door refers to an influence technique based on getting a person to do a large favor by starting out with a smaller favor and building up. The research subjects were normal randomly assigned people whom were contacted at their homes and asked to place a small sign in their windows to promote recycling. The subjects were also given and incentive of nothing, one dollars, or three dollars. Later, half of the participants were asked about why they complied with the behavior while the other half was not. Two weeks later, both the control and experimental groups were asked to comply with a moderate or large second favor relating to recycling. After, the behaviors and intentions of the participants were recorded. Then, a subgroup of the experimental participants and a second control group were asked to respond to a community poll which contained attitudes toward recycling and personal involvement. The experiment was commenced in order to test the usefulness of the phenomenon on a social behavior context (Scott, 1977). The Foot-in-the-Door phenomenon has come up numerous times in my childhood regarding a simple commute to a friend’s house. It starts out with me asking my parents if I could walk down the block over to see my friend. I then call home and ask if I could stay a couple hours or so longer to which my parents usually agree to. Sooner or later I might call home again and ask if I could sleep over which usually end up in my parents complying with the idea. In the movie Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne/Batman asks Luscious Fox many favors regarding the battle gear. At first, Bruce casually asks Fox if he can “borrow” the gear for exploring the cave after he was introduced to it. Later he asks for a vehicle to come in black which Fox indifferently agreed to. Although some...
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