Undermining Effects of the Foot-in-the-Door Technique with Extrinsic Rewards

Authors


Requests for reprints should be sent to Miron Zuckerman, Department of Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. 14607.

Abstract

The self-perception explanation of the foot-in-the-door technique suggests that a person who complies with a small request infers that he or she is the kind of generous individual who is more likely to comply with a larger demand. It was hypothesized that individuals who are promised a monetary reward for their compliance with a small request are not more likely to comply with a larger demand because they cannot perceive themselves as generous persons. To test this hypothesis, subjects were presented with a small request (a 5-minute telephone interview) followed, 2 or 3 days later, by a larger demand (a 25-minute telephone interview). Some of the subjects were promised a monetary reward for their compliance with a small request (pay condition) while others were not promised a reward (no-pay condition). Results showed that rate of compliance in the no-pay conditon (64.3%) was significantly higher than rate of compliance in either a no-initial-request control condition (45.0%) or the pay condition (33.3%). The difference in rate of compliance between the control condition and the pay condition was not significant.

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