Double foot-in-the-door, social representations, and environment: application for energy savings


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Fabien Girandola, Aix Marseille Université Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale 29, Avenue Robert Schuman 13621 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 1 France. E-mail:


This study aims to determine the most effective procedure to bring individuals to adopt pro-environmental behaviors, specifically to make energy savings for several weeks. A link was established between two fields of research traditionally separated in social psychology literature: free will compliance and social representations theories. An experiment was carried out to test the effectiveness of several simple and double foot-in-the-door procedures, activating central or peripheral cognitions of the social representation of energy savings. Basically, the results indicate that the most effective procedure is the double foot-in-the-door, which activates central cognitions. Twice as many participants accepted the target request and three times as many actually performed the expected behavior with this procedure.