The 1975 Door in the Face Experiment by Cialdini a.o.



Door in the Face
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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

The 1975 Door in the Face Experiment by Cialdini a.o.

In 1975, an experiment was conducted by Cialdini and his colleagues to study this phenomenon:
  • People were divided into 3 groups.
  • The 1st group was asked to volunteer as counselors for a group of juvenile delinquents for 2 hours per week, for a period of 2 years. Once the participants denied the request, a second request was made and they were asked to take them to the zoo for one day.
  • The 2nd group was asked only to take them to the zoo.
  • The 3rd group was told about the 2 year counseling plan but was only asked to take them to the zoo.
The results were that 50% people from the 1st group agreed to the second request that was made (taking them to the zoo) as opposed to the 17% and 25% in the second and third group respectively.
This proved that the Door in the Face technique:
  1. Was working
  2. Brought about better results than a request made in isolation (like for the second group).
  3. Was only successful if a first (unreasonable) request was followed by a second (reasonable) request (as the results of the 3rd group in comparison to the 1st group showed).

   

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