Door in the Face!

From a student in PSY 13:

When we learned about the door in the face technique, I immediately thought of this “Calvin and Hobbes” strip:

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 8.01.01 PM

Bad luck for Calvin–his mom must have taken Social Psych!  Can you think of examples from your own life?

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15 Responses to Door in the Face!

  1. kalper02 says:

    This reminds me of car rides with my dad. I’m always too cold and he’s always too hot. So he puts the air conditioner on. Having the windows down is slightly warmer than his 65 degrees AC. I use the door in the face method by requesting we put on the heat. My dad always says, “no way,” and then I ask if we can turn the air off. He will generally say no to this too. So when I ask, can we roll the windows down instead, he gives in to the request. When I start by requesting the windows, he says no. The door in the face works!

    • Elliad Dagan says:

      That is a very sly way of cooling down the car! I was impressed by the different techniques and asks you deployed when trying to cool down the car. I would have thought that you would use it just to raise the air conditioning to a less cool temperature but I guess that did not work. The door in the face was perfect in this situation.

      I am glad you were comfortable but it is bad for the environment to drive with the windows down and the ac on.

  2. Holden says:

    I usually use this technique when my group is deciding when to leave the house/apartment/hotel room/etc.. Some people want to leave sooner but I need some extra time to get my act together. Most of them are already ready to go. First I will ask for 30 min, they will say no. Then I will ask for 10/15 min, they will say yes. If I start by asking for 15 min, I’ll likely end up getting 5 min. So it works either way but the higher I vouch, the more exaggerated my request, the more time I ultimately receive.

    • jstone08 says:

      I can honestly say I am guilty of this too sometimes. This comment also made me think about the process of buying an item where the price is negotiable. The buyer often starts by offering much too low a price, a price that he or she knows will get shot down. THis is to ideally persuade the seller to sell for the buyer’s original price by looking like the buyer is compromising and coming up to help reach some middle ground between the buyer and the seller.

    • ahoi01 says:

      This was my immediate thought as well. It’s a great technique to keep the peace in a group, but can become a bit problematic when you use it too frequently (like in the comic strip).

  3. Aubrey Tan says:

    This totally reminds me of how i used to barter with my parents about going out and what i was allowed to do. I would usually ask if I can sleep over so and so house and most likely get turned down. Then they would give me a set curfew time to be back but I always thought it was too early such as midnight. I would then try to extend the time by a few hours until we could reach some sort of compromise since I didn’t want to have to come back from a night out so soon.

  4. In an example similar to those already stated, I usually have to take out the trash immediately after dinner, but one day, I was feeling particularly lazy and wanted to watch some Netflix before moving and doing anything, so when my dad asked me to take out the trash (at 6 pm), I said I would at 9pm, which was immediately rejected. However, when I asked a second time to take out the trash at 7, he instead complied, giving me an hour to watch an episode of TV. If it weren’t for the door in the face phenomenon, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to unwind before doing chores after dinner.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I once saw a picture (I tried to find it again, but I couldn’t—sorry for that!) with two bags labeled with the same price. The only difference between the bags was that for one of them, above the labeled price, there was a crossed-off, higher, original price, and besides it it said “50% off” (or it could be another percentage–doesn’t matter that much), and around the other bag there was nothing. So the idea was that the two bags looked exactly the same, and were to be sold at the exact same price, but one of them was to be sold at the price after a 50% off discount, and the other one was not. And the suggestion was that people would be inclined to buy the one with the discount than to be the one without, even though the two bags do not actually differ in any way.

    I do not know if adding fake signs of discounts has actually been practiced by any shops to attract customers (hopefully not), but this idea has its root in the door in the face technique.

  6. When I was a kid, my dad would always take me to the bookstore when I’d been really good, gotten an A on test, or something else he wanted to reward me for. I would always walk in knowing the titles of at least two or three books I wanted to read. He’d let me go explore and I’d find him later with a massive stack of books in my hands, and would present him each one in turn. After he denied my request for the arm-full of books, the two or three always seemed reasonable, and I went home a happy kid 🙂

  7. Elliad Dagan says:

    When I was a kid I loved ice cream so much. I would go with my dad after rec baseball and since I was so terrible he would get me ice cream to cheer me up. I was really bad at baseball so we went a lot. There was one game in particular where I was especially fixated with the grass and wildlife and missed a lot of catches when I knew I had to get some of that sweet sweet ice cream after getting sweaty doing something I did not like. When we arrived at the ice cream shoppe I wanted a lot, but my dad did not. I wanted three ice creams, but I knew he would not have it, so I used the door in the face technique and asked for 7! From there we worked our way and got down to four. What a crazy time!

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