When Manipulation Backfires: The Effects of Time Delay and Requester on the Foot-in-the-Door Technique


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jerry M. Burger, Department of Psychology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053.


We examined the effects of 2 variables on compliance rates within the foot-in-the-door procedure. Participants who agreed to a small request were presented with a larger request either immediately after the first request or 2 days later. The second request was presented either by the same person or by a different requester. Compared to a control group receiving only the large request, participants were more likely to agree to the second request in all experimental conditions except one. When the same requester presented the second request without delay, participants were less likely than the control group to agree to the target request. This latter condition represents a situation in which typical foot-in-the-door procedures can backfire on the requester.