In everyday life there are many situations when one needs compliance from others. There are several techniques showed as effective and studied by the social psychologists. The basic ones are the Foot-in-the-door, the Door-in-the-face and the Low-balling technique. The Low-ball procedure is often used by the car sales dealers. "A requester who induced subjects to make an initial decision to perform a target behavior and who then made performance of the behavior more costly obtained greater final compliance than requester who informed subjects of the full costs of the target behavior from the outset." (Cialdiani, Cacioppo, Bassett, Miller 1978)[1, p.463] The Foot-in-the-door technique considers a small request first, large request second. What it refers to is the fact that individuals seeking compliance often begin with small or trivial request. When this small request is granted they raise their request to the larger or more important ones. The fact that this technique is successful was proved by many different studies. (Beaman et al., 1983) Next technique is the Door-in-the-face: large request first, small request second. However the first technique is useful, an opposite strategy can be also successful in inducing compliance. (Baron & Byrne, 1987) In this procedure, the persons start with very big request and after a refusal they shift to the smaller one, favour that they wanted all along. But not only good procedures would help you while inducing compliance. As the base for explanations of the compliance techniques the Social Impact theory (Latane 1971, In Atkinson et al., 1993) can be taken. According to this theory, the impact of the source on the target raises with raising number, immediacy and the strength of importance of the source of influence. This is the phenomenon of multiplication of influence. The second principle of this theory is diffusion of influence: impact of a source decreases as the number, immediacy and importance of the target increases. The importance or it can be said authority of the source was more precisely described in Milgram's classical studies on Obedience to authority (Milgram, 1974).
Milgram's experiments show how is the authority of the source important: the “laboratory brutalities” made by people influenced by the authority in this experiment hopefully don't need any comment or additional explanation.
The last factor mentioned in Latane's Social Impact theory is the number of sources or according to the second principle the number of targets. In our experiment we manipulate just the number of targets variable. We use two experimenters demanding compliance in control group from one subject and in the experimental group from two subjects. We measure the willingness of the subjects to comply to our demand, which was a simple request to spend a little time answering some questions. HYPOTHESIS:
The willingness of two subjects to comply with two experimenters int experimental group will be equal to that of one subject to comply to the same two experimenters in control group.
The assumption is that the willingness of two subjects to comply with two experimenters in the experimental group would be smaller than willingness of one subject to comply with them in the control group.
The experiment was designed as a field experiment in Bratislava. In control condition two experimenters demand compliance from one subject and in the experimental condition the same two experimenters demand compliance from two subjects. The independent variable was number of subjects and dependent variable was whether they comply to the experimenters demand or not. PARTICIPANTS:
In the experiment participated two students of psychology as the experimenters. Subjects examined in the control group were 31 alone persons and in the experimental group 31 pairs. It was not important how is the pair set up.
This experiment was performed in Bratislava on the rather quiet street. Two male experimenters, students of psychology, came up to the subjects with question: ”Hello. We need your help for the research of the opinions on the teacher profession. Can you spend few minutes for us?“ If they comply, the experimenters asked them another question, but it had no use, it was only because the experimenters have to ask them something when they firstly demand it from them. Measured were only they reactions to the first question. RESULTS:
The results supported the hypothesis. In the one subject (control) condition was the subject more likely to comply with two experimenters than in the two subjects condition. The values collected are in Table 1.
It is also worth to mention the experimeters feelings which reported more stress when demanding compliance from two subjects than when demanding it only from one subject.
Number of reactions
Alone subject (N=31) Two subjects (N=31)
Comply Not Comply Not
Two men (man) 7 9 3 7
Two women (woman) 10 5 1 7
Man and woman - - 6 7
Total 17 14 10 21
Figure 1: The number compliant|non-compliant reactions in the
one-target(N=31) and two-targets(N=31) conditions.
However simple this experiment may to seem, it shows significant results. Maybe it could be done as a more complex one: variable number of experimenters would demand compliance from 1, 2, 3, 4-member group. The subjects should be chosen in more precise way to avoid differences in their mood etc. It should be also controled the sex of the experimenters and the subjects, or whether the pair in the experimental condition is mixed or not.
 Low-Ball Procedure for Producing Compliance: Commitment then Cost, In Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 1978, Vol.36, No.5