SRS Abstract for Cann, Sherman, & Elkes, 1975


Cann,A., Sherman,S.J., & Elkes,R.(1975). Effects of initial request size and timing of a second request on compliance: The foot in the door and the door in the face. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 774-782.


This article discusses two studies conducted in the area of sequential requests. Self-perception is offered as one explanation for behaviors, as well as size of initial request and timing of second request. As explained by the authors, self-perception is consulted in complying to requests. If someone complies to an initial request of some type, they are likely to consider themself as someone who supports whatever issue is at hand. This would make them very likely to comply with the following request. Compliance will produce compliance, as noncompliance will produce noncompliance. This article also considers compliance rate with size of request and timing of second requests. The messages used in both experiments vary in size and timing. In both procedures, participants compliance/noncompliance to the request, which allowed for measurement of the theories/rationale pertaining to sequential requests and size/timing of requests. The results add strong strong support to the idea that the factors request size and timing are indeed of importance in compliance-gaining. Implications of the results again mention self-perception in comlying to requests.


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SRS Researcher: Shannon Sprague, Department of Communication Studies, West Virginia University
© Shannon Sprague, Steve Booth-Butterfield, and the SRS Team, 1996.
Created February 23, 1996; Last updated February 27, 1996.