Persuasion - Foot in the Door vs. Door in the Face

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These two effects are based on people’s responses to a pair of sequential requests (such as requests that they donate to charity). In the DitF procedure, the first request is large, sometimes outrageously so, and the second request is smaller and more moderate. An example might be if a person was asked to donate 5 hours per week to help welfare recipients, then asked to simply donate $5. The FitD effect is the reverse: the first request is small and followed by a larger, but still reasonable, second request. For instance, a person may be asked to donate empty aluminum cans, then is later asked to place a recycling sign in his/her yard.

DitF is supposed to work because of a variation on the norm of reciprocity where the retreat in request size is seen by the subject as a concession on the requester’s part and the subject feels normative pressure to reciprocate. The request sequence becomes a kind of bargaining game. In contrast, the theory behind FitD is that the acquiescence to the original request results in attitude change, which enhances compliance with the second request. This comes from self-perception theory (the theory that we form our attitudes based on our observations of our own behavior: “I eat asparagus all the time, therefore I must like asparagus…”). Cognitive dissonance theory may also play a part. As for effectiveness:


FitD:


DitF:


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