SRS Abstract for Anderson & Smith, 1982

Anderson, J., & Smith, P. (1982). Doing the two step: Foot in the door and self perception. Human Communication Research, 33, 345-361.

The theory that motivates this research study is self perception. The authors propose that FITD operates in two stages where receivers observe their compliance with the first request (self perception) then infer their own attitudes from that behavior. The second request then becomes a matter of attitutde-behavior consistency ("I'm the kind of person who donates blood.").

Anderson and Smith recruited a total of 203 participants for their study. They then employed a standard FITD design where participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, control or FITD. The procedure in the control group had a trained confederate make only the second critical request. The FITD group received a setup message, then immediately received the second critical request from the same trained confederate. After all participants were given the second request, the confederate gave them a questionnaire in the guise of a marketing survey to measure their attitudes about the requested behavior.

The specific message employed for the first request was, "Would you mind signing a petition in support of Safe Driving in California?" The second request was, "Would you mind joining our Steering Committee which meets once a month to help organize a Safe Driving campaign?"

Results demonstrated a small effect for the FITD manipulation. Anderson and Smith found that 30% of the control group complied with the second request to join the Steering Committee while 43% of the FITD complied. Additionally, Anderson and Smith found that the FITD participants reported more favorable attitudes toward safe driving compared to the control group. This latter finding was interpreted as offering support for the self perception account of FITD.

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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 21, 1996; Last updated February 21, 1996.