FITD Dimensions: Theory and Rationale


Cann, Sherman, & Elkes, 1975

Study 1 and Study 2


Timing of second requests is crucial to compliance-gaining. Size of request, timing of second requests, and other extraneous factors - such as self- perceptional all can be determinant in any compliance- gaining situation. With a small or large request and a delay, our self- perception can be the deciding factor in whether or not we comply to a request.

The study hypothesized 1) that with a small request initially, the chance of compliance to the second message will be greater regardless of whether there is a delay or not. 2) With a large request initially, more compliance will occur if the second request follows immediately than if there is delay.


Baron, 1973

The experimenters were interested in finding if the foot-in-the-door effect would be successful in situations where subjects were asked to comply with an initial request of either small or moderate size and then be more likely to comply later to a larger request. Experimenters predicted that the greatest compliance to the later, larger request would come from the condition where subjects had complied to the moderate initial request. Also, the effect of sex of requester was examined.


Beaman, Svanum, Manlove, & Hampton, 1974

The study wanted to replicate the foot-in-the-door technique and find if effects occured from self-perception interpretation of mediating mechanisms. The hypotheses are as follows: a)under low reactance, increased levels of perceived prior compliance will lead to increased compliance;

b)under high reactance, increased levels of perceived prior compliance will lead to decreased compliance;

c)persons who initially agree to a small request will be more likely to agree with a second larger request than will people who are only contacted once;

d)persons who agree to the small request under perceived prior compliance conditions will be less likely to agree to the second larger request than will persons who originally agree under no perceived prior compliance conditions;

e)persons who agree to the small request under low reactance conditions will comply to the second large request more frequently than will persons who originally agree under high reactance conditions.


Beaman, Svanum, Manlove, & Hampton, 1974

The study wanted to replicate the foot-in-the-door technique and find if effects occured from self-perception interpretation of mediating mechanisms. The hypotheses are as follows:a)under low reactance, increased levels of perceived prior compliance will lead to increased compliance;

b)under high reactance, increased levels of perceived prior compliance will lead to decreased compliance;

c)persons who initially agree to a small request will be more likely to agree with a second larger request than will people who are only contacted once;

d)persons who agree to the small request under perceived prior compliance conditions will be less likely to agree to the second larger request than will persons who originally agree under no perceived prior compliance conditions;

e)persons who agree to the small request under low reactance conditions will comply to the second large request more frequently than will persons who originally agree under high reactance conditions.


Cialdini, & Ascani, 1976

The predictions made concerning compliance- gaining strategies were (1.) With verbal compliance, extreme-then-critical and minimal-then-critical conditions would produce more compliance than the critical request only control condition.
(2.) With behavioral compliance, more people would actually show up at the donation site if they received the extreme-then- critical condition, rather than the minimal-then-critical or the critical request only control group condition.
(3.) With compliance to subsequent help, the extreme-then-critical groupwould be higher than either of the other two groups.

Cialdini, Cacioppo, Bassett, & Miller, 1978

The effectiveness of low-balling and foot-in-the-door strategies was the issue. With low-balling, the target behavior is requested in the initial request. In foot-in-the-door, the target behavior is in the second request. The researchers predicted that low-balling would bemore effective in gaining compliance than foot-in-the-door, both inverbal compliance and behavioral compliance.


Dejong, 1981

The foot-in-the-door effect is explained in terms of the self-perception the ory. It is believed that a person who complies with the first request in the absence of external pressures or rewards. An attribution analysis of that behavior leads the person to conclude that he/she is the kind of person who cooperates with good causes or helps other people out.


Dejong & Funder, 1977

Research on the FITD effect shows that compliance with a smaller request can increase the likelihood of later compliance to a second, larger request. Compliance with the initial request alters an individual's perception of his /her own attitudes toward such actions, which then increases the likelihood of his/her future compliance with similar requests. This explanation implies that such a change in self-perception will occur only when the external pressure used to elicit initial compliance is minimal. The FITD theory posits that when a individual's compliance is induced through external pressures or rewards, the likelihood of his/her compliance with a second request in the absence of similar pressure or incentive would not be expected to increase.


Fish & Kaplan, 1974

FITD theory will not always get in; that at times, it will close the door more solidly than if you had never extended your limb at all. A compliance with FITD request may elicit the cognition "I have done my share." On the other hand, a FITD reguest may be useful in establishing or clarifying a moral obligation when such obligation is initially absent or ambigious.


Foss & Dempsey Study 1, 1979

This experiment was designed to clarify some issues that are of importance for the practical application of the foot-in-the-door phenomenon . Some of these issues are whether the effect does reliably occur with respect to overt behavior as well as verbal behavior. Also, whether the effect extends to other than question-answering behavior, and if it does, how strong the effect is.


Foss & Dempsey: Study 2, 1979

This study was conducted to assess the effect of the self-perception of the respondent. Earlier work suggests that the compelling nature of the request may not induce the altered self-perception of the respondent and that the initial request was also not large enough to bring about this change.



Foss & Dempsey: Study 3, 1979

This study was designed to examine the foot-in-the-door technique to see whether or not it is effective for recruiting blood donors. This study is a part of series of studies which have failed to demonstrate the effect of the foot-in-the-door technique when it comes to recruiting blood donors. This study is a conceptual replication of a previous study with the difference of personal contact instead of phone contact.

Furse, Stewart, & Rados, 1981

Research on the FITD effect shows that compliance with a smaller request can increase the likelihood of later compliance to a second, larger request . Compliance with the initial request alters an individual's perception of his/her own attitudes toward such actions, which then increases the likelihood of his/her future compliance with similar requests. This explanation implies that such a change in self-perception will occur only when the external pressure used to elicit initial compliance is minimal. The FITD theory posits that when a individual's compliance is induced through external pressures or rewards, the likelihood of his/her compliance with a second request in the absence of similar pressure or incentive would not be expected to increase.


Hansen & Robinson, 1980

This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of the foot-in- the-door technique. The basic notion of the foot-in-the-door paradigm is that compliance with a small request significantly increases the likelyhood of compliance with a larger subsequent task. The self-perception explanation assert that an individual infers attitudes and beliefs from observation of his or her own behavior and, therefore, compliance with a small request causes the subject to develop a positive attitude about the issue or task involved.


Harris, 1972

This study tries to assess whether performing an altruistic deed in the absence of a direct or vicarious reward makes one more likely to perform another. This study tries also to investigate the effects of feedback upon subsequent altruistic behavior and whether the feedback is reward, punishment, or either one.


Harris, Liguori & Stack, 1973

This experiment was performed to determine the effects of requesting a favor or offering a contingent or noncontingent bribe upon subsequent altruistic behavior. It was predicted that both a favor and a bribe would increase altruism above a base rate condition, but no difference between the former two were predicted.


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Harris & Samerotte, 1976

Experiment 1

This study seeks to further expand on the knowledge of the FITD strategy. The main goal of this research is to test the validity of the transgression-altruism and FITD effects in a naturalistic setting. It is reasoned that if harm doing produces a specific state of sympathy for the person who has been harmed or a need to repair one's self- image before the person who knows one has transgressed, then one would expect that those who have passively harmed another would be more generous than subjects in other conditions where they did not do any harm only when the person harmed asks for money. If, for instance, one enters into a state of guilty feelings for the other individual, those subjects will be more likely to give money to any particular person.

This study also seeks to test the limit of the FITD technique going on the assumption that compliance to a certain size of first request will inhibit subsequent request compliance until that initial request has been reciprocated.

Lastly, there is to be a strength test of the neediness of the request. To test the effectiveness of asking for trivial requests as opposed to important requests for the second crucial request.

Experiment 2

Based on the findings of the original experiment further test were performed to assess the effects of doing small favors for someone and subsequent altruism. There has been previous work on this notion, however here the emphasis is on compliance of giving money and the effects of giving money to a person other than the one that received compliance to the initial request. The Stop Thief conditions of experiment 1 were replicated in order to test a possible rebound effect of subjects being less helpful towards a requestor after already helping and complying to an initial request. It was predicted that those subjects who agree to an initial request of responsibility and do not have to act on it will be more likely to comply with future requests of that particular requestor. While those subjects who comply to an initial request of responsibility and do act on it will be less likely to comply to future requests of that requestor.


Reingen & Kernan, 1979

The overall theoretical hypothesis of this study is to test which works better the Foot-In-The-Door (FITD) technique or the Door-In-The-Face (DITF) sequential request compliance gaining strategy. Tybout (1978) found that the FITD startegy worked far better than the DITF technique. He reasoned that concesion making, the heart of DITF, is perceived as being a sef-centered, self beneficial gain within the commercial context. There have also been recent studies by Cialdini et al. (1978) and Scott (1977) showing a substantial difference between positive behavioral intentions and overt behavioral measurement. This issue of assessing actuall behavioral compliance was not carried out by Tybout (1978). This study sought to test the Tybout conclusion by utilizing overtly selfish requests where the recipient of the request is to gain and is a commercial entity. This study tests for the actual behavioral compliance as well.

Those exposed to the DITF were predicted to be less likely to comply with the second crucial request than those receiving the FITD treatment. This prediction comes not only from the above mentioned studies, but for the following reasons: On the basis of dissonance theory one could assume that some people after turning down an initial request might attempt to resolve disonance by accepting the alternate request, however, in this study the requestor is the sole recipient of the gains and the request is straightforwardly selfish. When purely selfish requests are at issue it seems only reasonable to beleive that either no dissonance will arise or the requestor will be seen as selfish and thus creating negative affect in the respondents mind. Further selfishness beggest selfishness so in this case the DIFT technique is actually going against its own tenets for inorder for the technique to works properly a concesion is to be realized by the respondent, but in this case with a selfish request it would seem to be quite easy to determine the personal motive.

In dealing with the FITD aspect of the study based upon past research such as Reingen and Kernan (1977) and Scott (1976) there was found some support for the use of requests related to commercial areas that were in the nonaltruistic category, however, in other studies the results are mixed regarding contexts of second request (delayed, non-delayed). There might be some evidence supporting the timing of the second request as well as the intensity of the initial request. Cann, Sherman, and Elkes (1975) found there not to be a great difference in the results of varied timing of subsequent requests, so, here the initial request was made to be greater than that in their study. This gave them the confidence that participants of tthe FITD strategy would produce higher compliance rates of the second request than the conrol group.

The Next Study

More interesting stuff and bother here.


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SRS Theory Topics


FITD DIMENSIONS: Theory and Rationale


Reingen, 1978

This research takes on the theoretical foundation of self-perception theory as well as replicating previous research on the Foot-In-The-Door (FITD) technique. Behavioral influence strategies are tested in a variety of conditions in order to shed more light on this phenomenon. The first two conditions sought to replicate past research in the hopes of further testing the generality of FITD, obtaining information about the mediator of the effect, applying FITD to practical applications, and investigating the power of FITD with participants that probably would not consider the initial request trivial. The third condition sought to test the relative effectiveness of FITD and self-perception theory utilizing a design procedure of inducing initial noncompliance. The fourth condition set out to test the relative effectiveness of Foot-In-The-Door and Door-In-The-Face techniques. The fifth and sixth conditions were spin offs of the fourth condition testing for predicted strengths of compliance. Last condition examined another kind of compliance the effectiveness of FITD on future help compliance or third request. It was predicted that participants receiving FITD would have greater compliance than direct request. It was also predicted that the fifth and sixth conditions would produce greater compliance than just the third and fourth conditions alone. Finally it was predicted that participants in the small initial request and extreme initial request conditions would be more likely to comply with the third request of future help.


Rittle, 1981

This article is based on Self-Perception Theory, as originally proposed by Bem. The Foot-in-the-Door strategy consists of making an initially small request, subsequently followed by a larger, critical request . Rittle seeks to demostrate that the Foot-in-the-Door effect is mediated by a change in self-perceptions of helpfullness. Two mediators-self-perception and situational perceptions were used to test the Foot-in-the-Door strategy


Seligman, Bush, & Kirsch, 1976

This study is rooted in the Self-perception Theory, as proposed by Bem. The Foot-in-the-Door strategy is a self perception explanation stating that compliance with a small initial request alters an individuals self-perception as one views oneself as a complying individual. The result of which is an increased likelihood of the individual complying subsequently with a larger request.


Scott, 1976

This study is underpinned by the Self-perception Theory, as proposed by Bem. One influence strategy known as the Foot-in-the-Door technique entails gaining compliance with an initial small request in order to facilitate compliance with subsequent larger requests.


Tybout, 1978

"It is unknown whether the foot-in-the-door is effective in contexts where people are unfamiliar with the issue and where they would not necessarily perceive its benefits even if familiarized with them. If information must be communicated before use of foot-in-the-door, the message may distract individuals from focusing on the causal antecedents of their behavioral compliance with the small request. Even if foot-in- the-door is effective, its utility for marketers may be questioned if the direct contact between the requestor and subjects that has characterized previous tests is a necessary condition for the technique to be effective. The relevance of foot-in-the-door in marketing settings may be furtherreduced if the two requests must be made in separate contacts in order for this strategy to be more effective than cold calling. It must be demonstrated that foot-in-the-door results in greater behavioral compliance than persuasion" (p. 230).


Wagener & Laird, 1980

"If the foot-in-the-door effect is a consequence of self-perceptions based upon the cues from earlier complying behavior,and if overweight people rely less on their own behavior in self-perception, then we should not expect overweight people to show the foot-in-the-door effect" (p. 442).


Zuckerman, Lazzaro, & Waldgeir, 1979

"If oversufficient rewards undermine the self-perception that one is intrinsically interested in a task, oversufficient rewards may also undermine the self-perception that one is complying with arequest because of his or her generosity. The person who does not infer that he or she is generous is not more likely to comply with a larger demand. In fact, the individual who is given an oversufficient reward may infer that he or she is the kind of person who needs a reward in order to comply. Such an inference will make the individual less likely to comply with a second larger demand" (p. 293).


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Created February 23,1996; Last updated February 27, 1996.