Discuss the use of compliance techniques. (22)

Discuss (22) – A considered and balanced review, including a range of arguments, factors or hypothesis. Opinions and conclusions presented clearly supported by appropriate evidence.

Compliance techniques

Foot in the door (Commitment) – “commit to this? might as well with that too..”

Dickerson – Take shorter shower (Compliance – Commitment)
[A] Investigate the effect of compliance (commitment) on behaviour.
  • Students from the university was asked to sign a poster saying “Take shorter showers, if I can do it, so can you!”
  • Then the students were asked to do a survey that was designed to make them think about their own water wastage.
  • The shower times of students were monitored.
  • Those who signed the poster were forced to think about their own water wastage, they averaged the shower time of 3.5 minutes
  • That result was significantly lower than the average time across the dormitories.
  • Might be able to argue that the students signed the poster because they are already committed to the cause.
  • Students felt that they are committed to a cause.

Door in the face (Reciprocity) – “how bout settle with less?”

Cialdini – Juvenile day trip/social worker (Compliance – Reciprocity)
[A] Investigate the effect of compliance (reciprocity) on behaviour.
  • Experimenters pretended they were from a “County Youth Counseling Programme”.
  • They stopped at different university campuses recruiting students to look after a group of juvenile on their day trip.
  • 83% refused this job.
  • On another day, the experimenters asked if the students would be willing to be part of a counseling programme for two hours a week for two years.
  • Everyone refused the job.
  • Then, the experimenter asked them to look after a group of juvenile on their day trip.
  • 50% agreed.
  • Students felt the need to accept the second offer as a for of returning a favour because they declined the first offer.

Obedience to authority

Stanley Milgram – Study On Obedience (Compliance)
[A] Investigating the effect of authority on compliance and obedience.
  • Subjects were 40 males, age range from 20 to 50, found through newspaper advert.
  • Subjects were led to believe that the experiment was investigating the effect of punishment on learning.
  • They were given the role of the “teacher” through a fixed lottery.
  • They saw the learner (which is an actor) in real life, strapped to a chair connected with an electrode.
  • The experimenter took the subject to another room and told them to apply an electric shock by pressing the button whenever the learner gets a question wrong.
  • The experimenter wore a grey lab coat.
  • The “teacher” was given a test shock of 45 volts.
  • At certain voltages, different vocal feedback was given through a recorded system. After 315 volts, no response was given.
  • 65% of the subjects continued on to the maximum 450 volts.
  • No one stopped before 300 volts.
  • Subjects were observed to show signs of stress (e.g. sweat, tremble, biting their lips).
  • Subjects displayed compliance because of the authority figure (the experimenter in the grey lab coat).
  • Compliance, not conformity. Because it is evident that the subjects did not internalise the idea of giving shock.
  • When subjects were asked to electrocute a puppy, level of obedience increased.
  • Ecological validity: Low, lab environment.
  • Culture bias: Unrepresentative sample, all subjects were from the US.
  • Other researchers replicated the study in other countries.
  • Findings can then be generalised.
  • Caused distress in subjects.
  • They were told “you have no choice but to carry on” but in actual fact subjects had the right to leave.
  • Subjects were deceived to thinking that they were actually giving out electric shocks.
  • They were then debriefed, and showed that the learner was unharmed.
  • Gender bias: Only male subjects used initially. In later replicates, female subjects and “victim” were also used.
  • When a female “victim” was used, level of obedience reduced.