Self‐Inference and the Foot‐in‐the‐Door Technique Quantity of Behavior and Attitudinal Mediation

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Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to test two aspects of the self‐perception theory account of the foot‐in‐the‐door (FITD) phenomenon. The first aspect tested was the claim that the greater the quantity of behavior associated with the initial request, the greater the likelihood of compliance with the later request. Quantity of behavior was operation‐alized as (a) request size and (b) active versus passive execution, that is, whether the target person actually carried out the request or simply agreed to do so. The second aspect tested was the claim that changes in self‐perception mediate the FITD effect. A field experiment was conducted to address these concerns. The results showed that a self‐inference explanation is viable; however, a strict self‐perception account fails because neither request size nor execution showed any correspondence to attitudinal measures or to compliance with the second request. Implications for a self‐inference explanation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-447
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1990

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mediation
human being
experiment
Experiments
Compliance

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "The purpose of this investigation was to test two aspects of the self‐perception theory account of the foot‐in‐the‐door (FITD) phenomenon. The first aspect tested was the claim that the greater the quantity of behavior associated with the initial request, the greater the likelihood of compliance with the later request. Quantity of behavior was operation‐alized as (a) request size and (b) active versus passive execution, that is, whether the target person actually carried out the request or simply agreed to do so. The second aspect tested was the claim that changes in self‐perception mediate the FITD effect. A field experiment was conducted to address these concerns. The results showed that a self‐inference explanation is viable; however, a strict self‐perception account fails because neither request size nor execution showed any correspondence to attitudinal measures or to compliance with the second request. Implications for a self‐inference explanation are discussed.",
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