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.

Friday, March 6, 2015

I will do yours......

As psychology students, one of the biggest headaches is to recruit participants for our projects. Every year during the data collection period, we always persuade other psychology students ‘I will do yours’. This applies the persuasive tactic of ‘reciprocity’ which means we tend to feel obligated to return favours after people do favours for us.

Regan (1971) conducted an experiment to examine this reciprocity principle by measuring to which extent participants would comply with a request from a favour-doer. Two IVs (liking for the confederate, favour) were manipulated. In the pleasant condition, the confederate performed in a normal, polite way; in the unpleasant condition, the confederate attempted to behave in a rude and unpleasant way. In the favour condition, the confederate gave a Coke to the subject; in the no favour condition, the confederate simply returned to the experimental room without offering a soft drink; in the irrelevant favour condition, subjects received a favour but not from the person who would later ask them to comply with a request. Compliance was measured the number of raffle tickets subjects would purchase for the confederate.

As shown in the table below, the favour increased the compliance with the confederate’s request, but the effect of manipulated liking was weak. He further suggested that the relationship between favours and compliance is mediated, not by liking for the favour-doer, but by normative pressure reciprocate.

In my scenario, when others asked me to do their experiments, even though they had not explicitly said they would do mine afterwards, I would be willing to do them this favour, partially because I knew they were more likely to do mine later. 

Regan, D. T. (1971). Effects of a favor and liking on compliance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 7(6), 627-639.

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