SRS Abstract for Rittle, R.H., 1981


Rittle, R.H. (1981). Changes in Helping Behavior: Self-versus Situational Perceptions as Mediators of the Foot-in-the-Door Effect. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,7431-457.


The theory that underpins this research study is self-perception. Randomly selected undergraduate college students, were used as participants . The procedures, included an experimental condition, with subjects being asked the message"Can you help me operate a candy and soft drink machine." Several tests, along with self-report questionnaires were administered for the measurement of the subjects abilities and attitudes. Two possible mediators, self-perceptions and situational perceptions were measured directly. The results indicated that self perceptions of helpfulness showed a moderate increase for the experimental subjects. Perceptions of potential unpleasantness, such as, embarrassment for someone offering help, showed a significant decrease, for the experimental subjects. The implications of this study are that the foot-in-the-door effect can be mediated, by changes in situational, as well as self-perceptions. A recent failure to replicate the foot-in-the-door effect was explained in terms of these findings.


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SRS Researcher: Graham Knowles, Department of Communication Studies, West Virginia University
© Graham Knowles, Steve Booth-Butterfield, and the SRS Team, 1996
Created March 12, 1996