Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


With the rapid rise of consumerism over the past few decades, music has become a strong cultivator of social trends. Its selling point lies in its universality; regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic status, everyone has the ability to translate their emotions/thoughts into something musical. This can then be accessed by people across the world. Given that music resonates with most individuals, it has become a lucrative industry, both in creation and provision. One corporation that has utilised the appeal of music is Spotify, a popular music streaming service available on computers, phones, ipods, tablets and televisions. Initially, Spotify seems like a dream come true; free access to 20 million songs and playlists for every mood, that are accessible via numerous devices and all that is required is the creation of an account. Further, they offer a 30 day free trial for their premium services which allows for unlimited listening of advertisement-free music and all you need is to provide your card details. Too caught up in the benefits of the service, people don't realise that through requiring these small requests eg. creating an account, providing card details, Spotify secures a certain commitment from its users, which makes it easier to 'rope' them into investing more money.
For example, offering a "Freemium" places users in a position of vulnerability as their card details are now in the possession of Spotify. In their minds, this entails a certain commitment which subsequently makes it more likely that they would invest in the premium package. This is an example of the 'foot-in-the-door' persuasive technique, whereby the target is initially asked to comply with a small request, which is usually readily performed, after which they are asked to comply with a related and larger demand. This larger demand was actually the aim all along, but would not have been secured without requesting the initial commitment.

This strategy was used by Freedman and Fraser (1966), who went around houses in California testing an experimental paradigm where subjects were either asked to comply with a small request followed by a large (experimental) or simply asked the larger request (control). In terms of small requests, subjects were either asked to put up a small sign or sign a petition and there were two possible issues - safe driving or keeping California beautiful. The second request was made 2 weeks later when the experimenters went around the same houses asking to install in the front lawn, a large sign that said "Drive Carefully." Thus, there were 4 experimental conditions, varying in terms of similarity of the small and large requests, along the dimensions of issue and task. It was expected that the three groups for which either the task or issue were similar, would show more compliance. Results demonstrated that presentation of the first request tended to increase the degree of compliance with the second request.

 As shown in the table above, those conditions where the requests were similar either by task or issue, gained more compliance than controls. That said, conditions where there was dissimilarity also gained more compliance than controls, indicating that regardless of whether requests are similar or not, simply having that first request increases likelihood of compliance with larger demand. These results support the idea that once someone has agreed to a certain action, no matter how small, the individual tends to feel more involved in the issue or task than before, and this increases the likelihood of subsequent compliance.


Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 195-202.

1 comment:

  1. spotify premium free intersperses its music with advertising (on the free version, at least), targeting specific audiences per demographic, location and mood.
    the present formats ar split between audio and graphical (banners and skyscrapers), or a combination of each. Advanced advertising includes video moreover.

    spotify premium free


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.