Repeating “Yes” in a first request and compliance with a later request: The four walls technique

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Nicolas Guéguen
Robert-Vincent Joule
Didier Courbert
Séverine Halimi-Falkowicz
Marie Marchand
Cite this article:  Guéguen, N., Joule, R., Courbert, D., Halimi-Falkowicz, S., & Marchand, M. (2013). Repeating “Yes” in a first request and compliance with a later request: The four walls technique. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 41(2), 199-202.


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The commitment/consistency principle for compliance implies that people act in ways consistent with their previous behavior. Cialdini and Sagarin (2005) have stated that, according to this principle, asking individuals questions to which they would be expected to say “yes” could be associated with achieving greater compliance with a subsequent request. However, this procedure, referred to as the four walls technique, has never been tested experimentally. In this study, we conducted an experiment in which participants were first asked to answer several questions that required “yes” or “no” responses. Then, the participants were asked to comply with an additional request. It was found that saying “yes” several times beforehand is associated with greater compliance with a subsequent request than is saying “no” beforehand or when no first request was made.

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