SRS Abstract for Miller et al, 1976

Miller, R.L., Seligman, C., Clark, N.T., Bush, M. (1976). Perceptual Contrast Versus Reciprocal Concession as Mediators of Induced Compliance Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, Vol 8, 401-409.

To further theoryMiller et al were interested in two explanations for the success of a compliance strategy where 'door-in-the-face' is the focus.

Miller et al used 77 undergraduate students enrolled at a midwestern univerisity as the participants.

Regarding procedure, subjects were contacted by student experimenters by phone. The experimenter attempted to gain compliance on the request of volunteering to help a campus mental health program through the use of messages including an initial request and a subsequent request, or just the target request in the control group, with the goal being to get those solicited to volunteer two hours of their time on one occasion.

The dependent measure was the percentage of subjects that complied with the second request based on their treatment condition.

The results supported the view that the critical manipulation in eliciting compliance is the reduction of relative cost to the subject and not the personal concession shown by the requestor. The implications being that more support was given to the idea that large-then-small request strategy is effective in producing compliance. Furthermore, the results support the view that it is the gaining component, and not the yielding component, that is the critical manipulation in eliciting compliance.

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SRS Researcher: Reid Amos, Department of Communication Studies, West Virginia University
© Reid Amos, Steve Booth-Butterfield, and the SRS Team, 1996
Created February 27, 1996; Last updated March 25, 1996