By using the door-in-the-face (DITF) technique I persuaded my housemate to let me have two of his beverages. The DITF technique involves making an unreasonable request that would usually be declined. This is followed by a second, more reasonable request. People are more likely to agree to the second request if it follows an unreasonable one, when compared to asking the second request alone.
Pascual and Gueguen (2006) provide a convincing demonstration of DITF in a field experiment. Participants were young adults who happened to be sitting alone at a bar in a French seaside resort. The participants were unaware that the male and female sat on the next table were confederates. After both ordering and drinking a lemonade, the male confederate leaves and proclaims (loudly enough for the participant to hear) that he is leaving to buy a part for his bicycle. Two minutes later the female confederate tries to leave, before being told by a staff member that the male confederate had not paid the bill. Participants were randomly allocated into one of two conditions.
In the door in the face condition, the female confederate approaches the participant and asks them to pay for the full cost of the drinks - as she had no money. No participant agreed to pay the full bill. Then the participant is asked to donate just “two or three francs to pay part of the bill”. 75% of subjects agreed to comply with the second request. In the control condition participants were only asked to comply with the second request. Then, only 10% of participants agreed to donate.
The results are depicted in figure 1.
Free beer... That's got to be the best psychological application ever, right?
Pascual, A., & Gueguen, N. (2006). Door-in-the-face technique and monetary solicitation: an evaluation in a field setting. Perceptual and motor skills, 103, 974-978.