Beliefs in having fixed or malleable traits and willingness to help: Implicit theories and sequential social influence techniques
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Two sequential social influence techniques, the foot-in-the-door and the door-in-the-face, seem to be symmetric, but there are different moderators and quite different mechanisms underlying each of the strategies. What links both techniques is the social interaction between the person presenting the sequence of requests and the interlocutor. The techniques' effectiveness depends on the course and perception of the interaction and the difficulty of the requests in the sequence. The aim of this article was to verify various mechanisms of incremental (individuals who believe in malleable personality) and entity theorists (individuals who believe in fixed traits) in their compliance with the FITD and the DITF techniques. In a series of four studies it was shown that incremental theorists comply with the FITD technique to a greater extent especially when the sequence of requests meets their mastery-oriented style of behavior, i.e. an interesting challenge to undertake or an opportunity to deepen contact with a newly met person. Entity theorists are more prone to the DITF strategy as their helpless style of behavior and sense of guilt are triggered and thus a sequence of demands decreasing in magnitude is perceived as less threatening.
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