Persuasion Techniques in Social Psychology

Social psychology is a very fascinating field of study that is full of common sense and counter intuitive findings. Social psychology is also a field where many of our daily behaviors are given new and fancy names.

In this hub, I will introduce four persuasion techniques that psychology students are introduced to in social psychology. As you read this hub, you might recognize some of these persuasion techniques as methods that you use yourself. So read on and enjoy!

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1. Foot in the Door

Foot in the door technique is when you start with a smaller request, followed by a bigger request. For example, you start by asking ‘oh can you help me foot the bill for this meal?’, then you proceed on to ask the person if you could borrow some money. It’s almost like literally getting your foot in the door before getting your whole body through.

The Foot in the door technique works using the consistency principle. You want people to regard you as a nice person, and so you agree to the smaller request, then when they subsequently ask the bigger request, you feel obliged to agree as you want to be a consistently nice person.

2. Door in the Face

The Door in the face technique is quite the opposite from the Foot in the door technique, as you present a big request first, before a smaller request. For example, you first ask if your friend could baby sit your child for the entire afternoon, then you shrink your request by asking your friend to baby sit for 1 hour.

This Door in the face approach is seen as a concession – when you first refuse that huge request, the person asking for a favor is seen as giving you a concession, and you then reciprocate by agreeing to the smaller request.

3. Low Balling

Lowballing is presenting an option that a person agrees to thereafter changing it. For example, you ask someone if they would be able to help you pay for lunch at fast food restaurant, and the person agrees. However, after agreeing you then change the venue to a more expensive restaurant – studies have shown that because of the person’s initial agreement to paying for your lunch, it is unlikely that he will turn back on his word despite the new change of terms that was introduced.

Lowballing creates an illusion on irrevocability after he has agreed to the original request, as the person wants to be seen as consistent, and thus agrees to the second (usually more unfavourable) proposal.

4. That’s not all folks

This last technique of That’s not all folks talks about discounts, incentives and little perks. For example, if you want someone to help you run an errand, you might offer your car, along with the cool music albums in it, as well as the chance for that person to run his or her own errands on the way.

This technique works through the principle of reciprocity, where you want to be nice to those that have been nice to you, or where you want to return the favor that has been shown to you.

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Comments 4 comments

lifeintoronto profile image

lifeintoronto 4 years ago from Toronto

Very interesting techniques! I can recall myself falling victim to a couple of those. Are there any techniques to protect yourself from those trying to lowball you or just to be able to say "no"? I find it really hard to refuse any requests!


Charlotte B Plum profile image

Charlotte B Plum 4 years ago Author

Hey lifeintoronto!

thank you so much for dropping by! I don't know about explicit techniques to resist falling prey, as these techniques are bad only when people become manipulated by them. But I think awareness is a good way to protect yourself - especially against lowballing - i too find it hard to refuse, and sometimes I regret being too soft.


lifeintoronto profile image

lifeintoronto 4 years ago from Toronto

Thanks for your reply Charlotte, I guess I just discovered my "weakness" (great idea for job interviews, too!)


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

Nice refresher for introduction into social psychology. Thank you for sharing.

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