Reprint requests should be sent to Dr. Joseph Schwarzwald, Department of Psychology, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.
The Applicability of the Door-in-the Face Technique when Established Behavioral Customs Exist
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 9, Issue 6, pages 576–586, December 1979
How to Cite
Schwarzwald, J., Raz, M. and Zvibel, M. (1979), The Applicability of the Door-in-the Face Technique when Established Behavioral Customs Exist. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 9: 576–586. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1979.tb00817.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
The applicability of the door-in-the-face technique was tested in a monetary donation context where established behavioral standards exist, and where the target person has standards by which to judge the legitimacy of the solicitor's demand. Based on the proposition that exaggerated initial requests might discredit the solicitor and thereby halt the give-and-take process, it was expected that (a) with legitimate initial requests, the probability of compliance with a request would be greater when preceded by a larger request than if presented alone; and that (b) with illegitimate initial requests, the probability of compliance with a second request would be smaller when preceded by a larger request than if presented alone. On the national collection day for the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Mentally Handicapped, 400 subjects were asked to contribute IL 10, 15, or 20. In the experimental groups, these amounts were preceded with requests for larger sums which were judged previously by a pretest to be considered legitimate or illegitimate. In the control groups, subjects were asked to contribute the same amounts, but no larger amounts were first requested. The replicability of the door-in-the-face technique has been proven with requests for which established customs exist. However, the technique was only effective with legitimate initial requests. With initial requests that were previously judged as unreasonable, the technique had a “boomerang effect” and suppressed compliance.