FITD Summaries

Cann, Sherman, & Elkes, 1975

theorized that in implementing the foot-in-the-door technique, that the timing of the second request along with size of request was crucial in gaining compliance. These researchers believed that a small first request would cause greater compliance to a second request than a large first request. With a large first request, the researchers believed that in order to gain compliance on a second request, that second request would have to be asked immediately following the large request. Any delay would promote a decrease in compliance.

Baron, 1973

theorized that subjects would comply more to a small or moderate first request than a large first request. The large request would only gain compliance if it followed a request of small or moderate size. Baron also theorizes that the sex of a requester will have an effect on the rate of compliance gaining, i.e. males requesters will produce a greater amount of compliance gaining than female requesters on the larger request.

Beaman, Svanum, Manlove, & Hampton, 1974

theorized that under low reactance, increased levels of perceived prior compliance will lead subjects to comply more in a second request condition. Under high reactance, increased levels of perceived prior compliance will lead to lower levels of compliance in a second request condition. The researchers also theorized that subjects who initially agree to a small request will be more likely to agree to a second, larger request than will subjects who are only contacted once and receive the large request. Subjects who agree to the small request under low reactance conditions were hypothesized to comply to the second, larger request more frequently than subjects who would originally agree under high reactance conditions.

Cialdini, & Ascani, 1976

theorized that when subject were to verbally comply, extreme-then-critical and minimal-then-critical conditions would produce more compliance than critical request only. In behavioral compliance, more people would actually behave most in the way that they complied to if they received an extreme-then-critical request condition. With compliance to future requests, subjects who received the extreme-then-critical request condition would again show the greatest amount of compliance.

Cialdini, Cacioppo, Bassett, & Miller, 1978

theorized that low-balling was effective more than the foot-in-the-door technique. With low-balling, the target (desired) behavior is requested in an initial request. In the foot-in-the-door, the target behavior is in the second request. These researchers predicted that low-balling would be more effective in gaining compliance than would f-i-t-d in verbal compliance as well as behavioral compliance.

Dejong, 1981

theorized that the f-i-t-d effect is explained in terms of the self-perception theory--That a person complies with a first request in the absence of external pressures or rewards. An attribution analysis of that behavior leads that person to conclude that he/she is the kind of person who cooperates with good causes or helps others.

Dejong & Funder, 1977

theorize that compliance with an initial request will lead to greater compliance with a second request. Compliance with the initial request alters an individual's perception of his/her own attitudes toward some 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 the initial compliance is minimal.

Fish & Kaplan, 1974

theorize that the f-i-t-d is not always effective; that sometimes it is actually counter-effective. A compliance with a f-i-t-d request might elicit a cognition in some people at a second request like, "I've already done enough". On the other hand, a f-i-t-d request might be useful in establishing or clarifying a moral obligation when such obligationis initially absent or unclear.

Foss & Dempsey, 1979

designed this study to clarify some issues that are of importance in practical application of the f-i-t-d technique. Some of these issues involve determining if an effect does in fact occur whether it be overt behavior or verbal compliance. Also, the study wanted to see how strong these effects are if they do exist.

In this study,

Foss & Dempsey, 1979

assess the effect of the self-perception of the respondent. The researchers state that earlier work suggests that the compelling nature of a 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 and Dempsey

in this study examine the f-i-t-d technique to see whether or not it is effective for recruiting blood donors. This study was a part of a series of studies which failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the f-i-t-d technique when it comes to recruiting blood donors. The study was a conceptual replication of a previous study with a difference being personal contact instead of telephone contact.

Furse, Stewart, & Rados, 1981

rationalize that compliance to an initial, small request will increase the likelihood of compliance to a second, larger request. Compliance to this initial request alters the individual's perception of their attitudes toward such actions, which then increases the likelihood of compliance to similar requests in the future. The theory in this study is similar to that of Dejong & Funder, 1977.

In this study, Harris, 1972

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 investigates the effects of feedback upon altruistic behavior and whether the feedback is reward, punishment, or either one.

Harris, Liquori & Stack, 1973

theorize the effects of requesting a favor or offering a contingent or noncontingent bribe upon subsequent altruistic behavior. They predicted that both a favor and a bribe would increase altruism above a base rate condition, but no differences between the two were predicted.

Harris & Samerotte, 1976

in Study 1 rationalize that harm doing produces a state of sympathy in subjects. They hypothesize that people who have passively harmed another would be more generous(e.g. with money) than subjects in other conditions where they did not do any harm. If one feels guilty about the harm, they will be more generous. The researchers also theorize that size and neediness of request will effect compliance gaining.

In Study 2, the researchers further the investigation of effects of doing small favors for someone and subsequent altruism. The researchers theorize that a subject's sense of obligation (because they've agreed to do something) will have an effect on subsequent compliance.

Pliner, etal, 1974

theorize that the rationale behind f-i-t-d is Bem's self-perception theory (like Dejong, 1981). In essence, a person infers his/her attitudes from some self-observation of his/her behavior and this has an impact on whether he/she will comply to similar requests in the furture.

Reingen & Kernan, 1979

in this study which is more effective: f-i-t-d or d-i-t-f. They hypothesized that f-i-t-d would prove most effective in gaining compliance because of concession and dissonance.

Reingen & Kernan, 1977

relate the f-i-t-d technique to Bem's self-perception theory (as do Dejong, etal, 1977; Furse, etal, 1981). This study sought to examine the technique and theory in depth. A major prediction was that subjects who had no incentive and a small initial request would comply more to a large request than those who only received a larger request.


in this study elaborates on self-perception theory and replicates previous research on f-i-t-d. Behavioral influence strategies are tested to shed more light on this phenomenon. It was predicted that subjects who received f-i-t-d conditions would comply more than those who received a large request only.

Rittle, 1981

like many other f-i-t-d researchers seeks to demonstrate that the f-i-t-d effect is mediated by a change in self-perceptions of helpfulness. Two mediators: self-perception and situational perceptions, were used to test the f-i-t-d technique as related to the self-perception theory.

Selgiman, Bush, & Kirsch, 1976


Scott, 1976

both root their studies in Bem's self-perception theory as well as many previously discussed researchers of f-i-t-d, stating that previous compliance to a request alters our self-perceptions of our attitudes about some behavior, which affects similar requests in the future.

Tybout, 1978

investigated the effectiveness of f-i-t-d with the main focus on whether or not people should be communicated the information before the f-i-t-d is implemented to them.

Wagener & Laird, 1980

rationalize: if the f-i-t-d effect is a consequence of self-perceptions based on cues from earlier complying behavior/ and if overweight people rely less on their own behavior in self perception--- then should we not expect overweight people to show the f-i-t-d effect?

Zuckerman, Lazzaro, & Waldgeir, 1979

rationalize that the person who doesn't infer that he/she is a generous person is not more likely to comply with a larger second request. In fact, the subject who is given an oversufficient reward might infer that he/she is the kind of person who needs a reward in order to comply. Such an inference will make that person less likely to comply with the second, larger request.

DITF Summaries

Cialdini & Ascani, 1976

were attempting to test the hypothese speculated by Cialdini et al. (1975) in a context other than that of the origional study. This replication would serve a three-fold purpose. First, it would determine the generality of the compliance mechanism. Second, it would provide evidence regarding the mediator effect in the mechanism. Finally, it would investigate some practical advantages to using this method.

Even-Chen, Yinon, & Bizman:Study 1, 1978

sought to find if the size of the inital requesst had any impact on the subsequent compliance of the individual. The researchers proposed in their experiments that reciprocal concessions would only take place when the size of the initial request was extremely large.

Even-Chen, Yinon, & Bizman:Study 2, 1978

sought to find if the size of the inital requesst had any impact on the subsequent compliance of the individual. The researchers proposed in their experiments that reciprocal concessions would only take place when the size of the initial request was extremely large.

Foss & Dempsey: Study 3, 1979

ran this third study to see if under the right circumstances, the experimenters could get the FITD technique to actually work.

Goldman & Creason, 1981

explore the "door-in-the-face" theory, and attempt to either expand the d-i-t-f theory or create a new one:"two-door-in-the-face".

Mowen & Cialdini, Study II, 1980

were interested in furthering their study by marketing researchers investigating compliance-gaining tactics that influece behavior directly. They also were interested in applying the behavioral induction technique 'even a penny will help' (Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976). In this approach a standard request for a donation is followed with the phrase,"even a penny will help." The study focused on the application of the 'door-in-the-face' technique in a business situation.

Miller et al, 1976

explore the "door-in-the-face" theory. The study examined two explanations for the success of a compliance strategy in which a second moderate-sized request is asked immediately after the refusal of a first large-sized request.

Reingen, 1978

explores the "door-in-the-face" theory, while inspecting other strategies of inducing compliance with requests.

Reingen & Kernan, 1979

reasoned that the foot-in-the-door (FITD) and door-in-the-face (DITF) techniques of influencing behavior had been tested in primarily prosocial request contexts and decided to examine the efficacy in a commercial setting. A review of literature had revealed that most DITF and FITD research focused on gaining compliance on the basis of some altruistic cause. The present research examined the effects of FITD and DITF when the request were not of an altruistic nature.p>

Schwarzwald, Raz, & Zvibel, 1979

reasoned that to date, the door-in-the face technique has not been tested where common behavioral customs exist, and the target person has standards by which to judge the reasonableness of the solicitor's demand.

Shanab & Isonio, 1980

revealed that the door-in-the-face technique is an effective technique in influencing behavior change. A particular study showed that subjects would agree to a second, smaller request that alone is seemingly offensive if it was preceded by an even more offensive request. Shanab and Isonio endeavored to extend the finding of this study and hypothesized that if two request are perceived as independent because of intervening delays, then neither the contrast not the reciprocal concession manipulation would lead to an increase in compliance.

Shanab & O'Neil, 1979

revealed that no studies of the door-in-the-face (DITF) techniques had been carried out in the rate of compliance to socially undesirable request. It had been conjectured that if socially undesirable request were made, compliance would be reduced. Shanab and O'Neill reasoned that this is an unjustifiable request considering that subjects in earlier experiments had consented to administering electric shock to other subjects.

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Created April 1, 1996; Last updated April 3, 1996