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, March 20, 2014

Man Smart (Woman Smarter)

Sheldon Cooper, one of the main character from the Big Bang Theory, isn't one for physical contact. But, he does have a girlfriend, Amy. Being his girlfriend would probably not be the easiest thing in the world and Amy does have to use her tact to get him to do what she wants. In this clip, Amy tried to negotiate with Sheldon to have more physical intimacy with each other.

Amy uses the Door-in-the-Face (DITF) technique here. This means that for the end result of compliacne to a request, you start with a much larger request that will not be agreed to. Amy starts with the large demand of sleeping with Sheldon, which he obviously says no to, and then moves on to a smaller request of cuddling, which he agrees to.

Cialdini , Vincent, Lewis, Catalan, Wheeler, and Darby (1975) showed the effectiveness of this negotiation technique in an experiment. They asked passersby to volunteer 2 hours a week for a minimum of two years working with juvenile delinquents. This was a large demand and therefore, people rejected it. The experimenters then asked for a smaller request - to work just for two hours with these delinquents. They found that if this request was preceded by the larger demand, people were three times as likely to agree, than if the smaller request was made directly.

So, if Amy had started with a request for cuddles, Sheldon would have most probably rejected this demand. By asking for a bigger request first, she increased the probability of him saying yes.

This is said to work because of the principle of reciprocity. Here, Amy starts with a large request that she later takes back and makes a concession for Sheldon to subsequently make a smaller request. Sheldon feels obligated to her and therefore agrees to the request for cuddling.

It takes a smart woman with the ammunition of negotiation tactics to get someone as intelligent and stubborn as Sheldon to do something that's against his wishes!

Cialdini, R.B., Vincent, J.E., Lewis, S.K., Catalan, T., Wheeler, D., & Darby (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 206-215.

Geetanjali Basarkod - Blog 5

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