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