Evocation of freedom and compliance: The “But you are free of …” technique

Current Research in Social Psychology 09/2000; 5(18):264-270.


Many investigations showed that the semantic characteristics of a request could lead to more
compliance. A feeling of freedom is also a factor favoring compliance to numerous types of
requests. An experiment was carried out, in which the evocation of freedom was formulated
verbally, following a demand for money made by confederates. Results show that the verbal
incentive used (demand for money + "but you are free to accept or to refuse") increased the
rate of subjects’ compliance as well as the average amount of granted gifts. The semantic
activation of the feeling of freedom is discussed within the framework of numerous paradigms
of research on compliance.

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Available from: Alexandre Pascual, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "To overcome this problem, Halimi-Falkowicz et al. (2007) used two compliance without pressure techniques together such as touching (Kleinke, 1977) and " you are free to. . . " (YAFT) (Guéguen & Pascual, 2000) to encourage residents to participate in the social activities offered by their nursing home. The technique is simply to touch briefly the arm of a person when asking him something, while YAFT involves saying to the subject that he/she is quite free to accept or reject the request that is made to him/her. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study proposes a simple methodology to improve the quality of life of residents in nursing homes. In the experimental condition, an intervention based on the feeling of control, the technique of touching and “you are free to…” was implemented. Assessment of the residents’ appropriation of their personal space and their morale was made one month later. Data showed a significant improvement in both parameters in the experimental condition, whereas values remained stable in the control group, which did not receive the intervention.
    Pratiques Psychologiques 04/2015; 21(2):173-178. DOI:10.1016/j.prps.2015.03.001 · 0.33 Impact Factor
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    • "Method Sample To locate as many studies examining this technique as possible, the full text of the articles in PsycINFO and Communication and Mass Media Complete were both searched using the term ''but you are free.'' Studies citing the seminal Guéguen and Pascual (2000) "
    Communication Studies 01/2013; 64(1):6-17. DOI:10.1080/10510974.2012.727941
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    • "The objective of the first experiment was to replicate the results obtained by Guéguen and Pascual (2000) by using a large sample size and reducing experimental bias Indeed, in "
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    ABSTRACT: The “evoking freedom” technique is a verbal compliance procedure that solicits someone to comply with a request by simply telling them they are free to accept or to refuse the request. The measure of the efficiency of this technique on compliance with large samples and the evaluation of its influence on various requests was tested in the first set of experiments. This technique was found to be efficient in increasing the number of people who agreed to give money to a requester, the number of smokers who agreed to give a cigarette, passersby who agreed to respond to a survey, and homeowners who agreed to buy pancakes. In the second set of experiments in which the mode of interaction between the requester and the person solicited was tested, the “evoking freedom” technique was found to be associated with greater compliance with a request addressed by mail and through face-to-face, phone-tophone, or computer-mediated interaction. The third set of experiments tested the effect of semantic variations of the “evoking freedom” technique and the weight of the repetition of the semantic evocation of freedom. These later experiments that used various phrases evoking the freedom to comply were found to be associated with greater compliance. Moreover, a double evocation of freedom was associated with even greater compliance than a single evocation. The importance of this technique for commitment communication is discussed.
    Journal of Applied Social Psychology 01/2013; 43(1):116-137. DOI:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00986.x · 0.83 Impact Factor
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