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A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of the “But You Are Free” Compliance-Gaining Technique


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The “but you are free” (BYAF) compliance-gaining technique operates by telling the target that he or she is free to refuse the request. A meta-analysis of 42 studies of the effectiveness of that technique indicated that it was an effective means of increasing compliance rates in most contexts. It was effective regardless of type of request, but effectiveness diminished when the decision to enact the target behavior was not made immediately, consistent with a self-presentation explanation of the technique's effectiveness.
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A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of
the “But You Are Free” Compliance-
Gaining Technique
Christopher J. Carpenter a
a Department of Communication, Western Illinois University
Version of record first published: 13 Dec 2012.
To cite this article: Christopher J. Carpenter (2013): A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of the “But
You Are Free” Compliance-Gaining Technique, Communication Studies, 64:1, 6-17
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A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness
of the ‘‘But You Are Free’’
Compliance-Gaining Technique
Christopher J. Carpenter
The ‘‘but you are free’’ (BYAF) compliance-gaining technique operates by telling the
target that he or she is free to refuse the request. A meta-analysis of 42 studies of the
effectiveness of that technique indicated that it was an effective means of increasing
compliance rates in most contexts. It was effective regardless of type of request, but effec-
tiveness diminished when the decision to enact the target behavior was not made imme-
diately, consistent with a self-presentation explanation of the technique’s effectiveness.
Keywords: Compliance-Gaining; Meta-Analysis; Reactance Theory; Self-Presentation
A simple but very effective compliance-gaining technique has been developed in
France. The initial demonstration of the ‘‘but you are free’’ (BYAF) technique was
by Gue
´guen and Pascual (2000). One of the experimenters approached individuals
walking alone in a shopping mall in France. In the control condition, the exper-
imenter made a simple direct request: ‘‘Sorry, Madam=Sir, would you have some
coins to take the bus, please?’’ In the experimental condition, the experimenter
added: ‘‘But you are free to accept or to refuse.’’ Those in the experimental condition
were substantially more likely to comply with the request. Moreover, those who gave
in the experimental condition gave twice as much as those in the control condition.
They developed the BYAF technique on the basis of psychological reactance theory
(Brehm, 1966). Purportedly the phrase weakens the target’s perception that her or
his freedom to say ‘‘no’’ is being threatened.
Christopher J. Carpenter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Western Illinois
University. Correspondence to: Christopher J. Carpenter, Western Illinois University, Department of Com-
munication, 1 University Circle, 215 Sallee Hall, Macomb, IL 61455, USA. E-mail:
Communication Studies
Vol. 64, No. 1, January–March 2013, pp. 6–17
ISSN 1051-0974 (print)/ISSN 1745-1035 (online) #2013 Central States Communication Association
DOI: 10.1080/10510974.2012.727941
Downloaded by [Christopher J. Carpenter] at 07:57 13 December 2012
The BYAF technique has the potential to be a powerful new tool in a variety of
compliance-gaining contexts. Unlike the door-in-the-face (Freedman & Fraser,
1966) and other complex techniques, the BYAF technique does not require a series
of requests. Instead, one merely adds a single sentence to the original request.
Additionally, some research suggests that the BYAF technique can be added to other
compliance-gaining techniques to increase their effectiveness further (Dufourcq-
Brana, 2007; Gue
´guen, Meineri, Martin, & Grandjean, 2010). Given the ease with
which this technique can be adapted to any context and its potential to strengthen
other techniques, it is important to determine the overall effectiveness of the
technique and potential moderators. The answer to these questions can help shape
best practices for charities seeking to increase the yield of their fundraising efforts.
Furthermore, the exploration of moderators may help illuminate the theoretical
mechanisms of the technique. First, the technique will be explicated and then the
results of a meta-analysis of the BYAF technique’s effectiveness will be reported.
But You Are Free
In a series of follow-ups to their original demonstration of the technique, Pascual and
´guen (2002) determined that the technique was consistently effective in face-to-
face contexts, including ones in which the requester did not even offer a reason for
the request. Their sixth study showed that the use of the technique was associated
with an increase in donation sizes for a prosocial cause when compared to a control
message. Specifically, invoking the audience’s freedom to donate however much the
members wanted was associated with an increase in the average donation size as com-
pared to a direct request control group’s average donation size. Additionally, Pascual,
Dagot, Vallee, and Gue
´guen (2009) observed that people were more likely to donate
to a tsunami relief fund via the BYAF technique as compared to a direct request.
´guen and Pascual (2005) also reported that the technique is associated with an
increased likelihood that people approached on the street would agree to complete
a survey. Finally, Marchand, Halimi-Falkowicz, and Joule (2009) found that nursing
home residents were more likely to participate in activities with the other residents
when their freedom to refuse was invoked first.
The exact wording of the technique has varied, but it always emphasizes the target’s
right to say ‘‘no.’’ For example, Gue
´guen et al. (2011) found the phrase ‘‘But obviously
do not feel obliged’’ (p. 36) is just as effective as the standard ‘‘but you are free.’’ The
studies that have varied the phrasing but consistently emphasized the target’s freedom
have uncovered no substantial differences in the technique’s effectiveness across the varia-
tions in wording (Gue
´guen et al., 2011; Pascual, 2002). The factor most consistently
emerging has been the importance of verbally recognizing the target’s freedom to say ‘‘no.’’
Meta-Analyzing the BYAF Technique
A meta-analysis of the existing BYAF literature serves several purposes. First, it can
establish the strength of the technique across a variety of contexts and correct for
But You Are Free 7
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sampling error. This analysis will enable professionals concerned with compliance
gaining to gauge the strength of the technique by comparing the average effect size
to other compliance-gaining techniques subjected to meta-analysis (e.g., Andrews,
Carpenter, Shaw, & Boster, 2008; Carpenter & Boster, 2009; Dillard, Hunter, &
Burgoon, 1984; O’Keefe & Hale, 1998).
In addition, the possibility that the technique is less successful when the decision
to comply does not occur face-to-face was a focus of interest. Andrews et al. (2009)
raised the possibility that some compliance-gaining techniques rely on the target’s
desire to engage in positive self-presentation before the requester. It is therefore
important to determine whether or not the BYAF technique is similarly limited in
its effectiveness to situations in which the decision to comply is made with the
requester present. Furthermore, if the BYAF technique reduces reactance, as the ori-
ginators claimed, the technique may not be effective in situations in which the
decision to comply is not made in front of the requester. For example, if the requester
emails the target (e.g., Gue
´guen, Pascual, Jacob, & Morineau, 2002), then the target
can choose to comply or not without the requester being present or possibly even
knowing if the target complied. In such cases, reactance may not be evoked because
the threat to the target’s freedom is less acute when the person imposing on the target
is not present when the target either performs the behavior or not. The self-
presentation hypothesis therefore predicts that, when meta-analyzed, studies of
requests in which the decision to comply was not made with the requester present
will form a homogeneous set with a substantially lower average effect size than the
body of studies in which the decision to comply is made face-to-face.
Another possible moderator is implicit in Carpenter and Boster’s (2009) finding
that compliance-gaining techniques may be less effective in a sales context. These
researchers suggest that the loss of effectiveness occurs because people are more
suspicious of self-interested requests and cognitively process such requests more
thoughtfully. The targets of compliance-gaining requests may see them as prosocial,
self-interested, or an offer. Prosocial requests are ones for which compliance ben-
efits some worthy cause and not the requester (e.g., requests soliciting money for
charities; Pascual & Gue
´guen, 2002, Study 5), self-interested requests clearly only
benefit the requester (e.g., give the requester money; Pascual & Gue
´guen, 2002,
Study 1), and offers are for the benefit of the target only (e.g., to participate in
activities in a nursing home; Marchand et al., 2009). The self-interested requests
may reduce the effectiveness of the technique by causing targets to process the
request more carefully than when it is prosocial or an offer. The following
meta-analysis will report the overall effectiveness of the technique and tests of these
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
8C. J. Carpenter
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searched using the term ‘‘but you are free.’’ Studies citing the seminal Gue
´guen and
Pascual (2000) article were searched for using the Web of Science as well as Google
Scholar. Examination of the references section of all the obtained studies as well as
those of relevant review articles (e.g., Joule, Girandola, & Bernard, 2007) aided in
the identification of pertinent articles. The primary authors on all of the obtained
studies were emailed and asked for unpublished studies. The search resulted in the
location of 13 articles for which it was possible to estimate 51 effect sizes. The sample
size was 23,790. The studies took place primarily in France. Two were conducted in
Romania, two in Russia, and one in the Ivory Coast.
Unfortunately, some of the effect sizes were not independent, as they were derived
from studies focusing on moderators of the technique and shared common control
groups. When studies were interdependent, the effect size comparison that most
resembled the most common method of implementing the technique was the one
maintained for the analysis. The phrase ‘‘but you are free’’ was used rather than such
variations as ‘‘you are not obliged’’ or ‘‘you may do as you wish.’’ Also, in some stu-
dies the phrase appeared before the target request was described and in some it came
after. There were 26 cases in which the request appeared before, 24 where it appeared
after, and two where it was placed before and after the target request. As the before
placement was the most common, it was used for the effect size estimate in studies
that examined both order variations against a shared control group.
When only
independent effect sizes were included, there were 42 effect size estimates from inde-
pendent studies of the technique’s effectiveness for a combined sample of 22,333.
This sample was used to produce the overall estimate and the additional dependent
effect sizes were added to any subgroup in which there was not already a sample
employing the same control group.
There were two effect sizes coded for each study. First, the v
for the increase in com-
pliance associated with using the BYAF technique compared to the direct-request
message was converted to a correlation coefficient in line with the formulas Cooper
(1998) provided. The odds ratio (OR) for each study was also calculated, except for
Study 6 in the Pascual and Gue
´guen (2002) article because the dependent variable
was the amount of money the participants offered for a charity rather than their
decision to donate.
Two aspects of each study were coded as potential moderators: whether the target
made their choice with the requester present or not and if the request was prosocial
(e.g., donate to a charity; Pascual & Gue
´guen, 2002, Study 5), self-interested (e.g.,
give the requester money; Pascual & Gue
´guen, 2002, Study 1), or an offer for the
benefit of the target (e.g., to participate in activities in a nursing home; Marchand
et al., 2009). For a full listing of all of the coding for each study, effect sizes, and
sample sizes, see Table 1.
But You Are Free 9
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Table 1 The Moderator Coding, Effect Sizes, and Sample Sizes of the Studies in the
Author Year
Type of
Immediate or
delayed NOR r
Dufourcq-Brana 2007 Study 1 2007 prosocial Delayed 400 0.704 .05
Dufourcq-Brana 2007 Study 2 2007 prosocial Immediate 100 2.93 .26
Dufourcq-Brana 2007 Study 3 2007 prosocial Immediate 60 6.571 .436
´guen & Pascual 2000 Selfish Immediate 80 8.143 .414
´guen & Pascual 2005 Prosocial Immediate 159 2.85 .187
´guen et al. 2002 prosocial Delayed 600 2.417 .189
´guen et al. 2010 prosocial Immediate 100 1.909 .16
´guen et al. Study 1 review Selfish Immediate 2160 3.481 .268
´guen et al. Study 10 review selfish Immediate 200 1.81 .14
´guen et al. Study 11 review Selfish Immediate 172 4.51 .354
´guen et al. Study 12 review Selfish Immediate 200 1.962 .16
´guen et al. Study 13 review Selfish Immediate 200 3.523 .302
´guen et al. Study 2 review Selfish Immediate 160 2.287 .166
´guen et al. Study 3 review Selfish Immediate 4421 1.689 .109
´guen et al. Study 4 review Prosocial Immediate 60 6.57 .436
´guen et al. Study 5 review Prosocial Immediate 400 2.429 .214
´guen et al. Study 6 review prosocial Delayed 100 6.714 .312
´guen et al. Study 7 review prosocial Immediate 2289 2.228 .197
´guen et al. Study 8 review offer Delayed 4515 1.913 .04
´guen et al. Study 9 review selfish Delayed 2230 1.791 .11
Marchand et al. 2009 offer Delayed 37 2.694 .243
Pascual Study 5 2002 selfish Immediate 94 1.151 .03
Pascual Study 6 2002 Selfish Immediate 320 2.103 .169
Pascual Study 7 2002 Selfish Immediate 84 2.75 .229
Pascual Study 10 2002 prosocial Delayed 171 2.47 .22
Pascual study 11 2002 prosocial Delayed 220 2.54 .13
Pascual et al. 2009 prosocial Immediate 120 2.51 .21
Pascual et al. 2002 prosocial Delayed 400 0.669 -.059
Pascual & Gue
´guen Study 1 2002 Selfish Immediate 80 6 .346
Pascual & Gue
´guen Study 2 2002 Selfish Immediate 80 2.45 .21
Pascual & Gue
´guen Study 3 2002 Selfish Immediate 200 2.59 .221
Pascual & Gue
´guen Study 4 2002 Selfish Immediate 306 1.705 .125
Pascual & Gue
´guen Study 5 2002 prosocial Delayed 126 0.86 -.04
Pascual & Gue
´guen Study 6 2002 prosocial Immediate 60 .359
Pascual et al. 2005 prosocial Immediate 387 1.448 .087
Pascual et al. 2005 prosocial Immediate 222 1.73 .13
(Continued )
10 C. J. Carpenter
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Method of Analysis
From recent work concerning the validity and ubiquity of the various methods of
meta-analysis, the Hunter and Schmidt (2004) method appears to be the most valid and
the most common meta-analytic technique in communication research (Anker, Reinhart,
& Feeley, 2010). The Hunter and Schmidt approach was used in this meta-analysis.
The analysis included the determination of the sample-size weighted correlation
for the increase in compliance associated with the requester using the BYAF tech-
nique versus the direct-request technique and the odds ratio for that difference in
compliance. In order to calculate the weighted mean of the odds ratio for the increase
in the likelihood of the target complying when the BYAF technique was used as
opposed to a direct request, the natural log of the odds ratio was calculated for each
effect, following the recommendations of Haddock, Rindskopf, and Shadish (1998).
They argue that using the natural log of the odds ratio for the meta-analytic average
increases the accuracy of the calculation. The natural log of the odds ratio was
converted back to an odds ratio for interpretation after averaging.
The amount of variance that was predicted due to sampling error was next esti-
mated in order to determine how much of the variation in effect sizes would be
attributable to sampling error as opposed to moderators of the technique’s effect.
Then, the sample-size weighted amount of variance obtained from the corpus of stu-
dies was calculated. The homogeneity test proposed by Hunter and Schmidt (2004) is
the 75%rule. If 75%or more of the obtained variance in the corpus of studies can be
attributed to sampling error rather than variations caused by moderators, the effect
size can be considered to be a fixed-effects estimate of a single population effect size
(also known as a homogeneous effect). In such a case, the corpus of studies presum-
ably is capturing a single population effect size. If less than 75%of the variance is
explained by sampling error (and other study artifacts), the effect is called a
heterogeneous effect and Hunter and Schmidt recommend the construction of
80%credibility intervals to demonstrate how widely the effect sizes vary on the basis
of moderators of the effect size. Hunter and Schmidt recommend against construct-
ing confidence intervals or conducting statistical significance tests of the effect size
because of the substantial amount of error in such estimates.
Table 1 Continued
Author Year
Type of
Immediate or
delayed NOR r
Samson Study 1 2009 Selfish Immediate 120 2.41 .2
Samson Study 2 2009 prosocial Immediate 120 2.486 .202
Samson Study 3 2009 Selfish Immediate 120 2.769 .222
Samson Study 4 2009 prosocial Immediate 120 2.625 .226
Samson Study 5 2009 Selfish Immediate 120 1.667 .103
Samson Study 6 2009 prosocial Immediate 120 1.485 .081
But You Are Free 11
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Main Findings
The sample-size weighted correlation between the presence or absence of the BYAF
technique and the proportion of those who complied with the request was r¼.13,
with 22%of the variation in effect sizes explained by sampling error (80%credibility
interval: .03 <q<.24). This finding is consistent with a moderate-sized increase in
effectiveness associated with using the BYAF technique instead of a direct request.
The sample-size weighted odds ratio was 2.03, which suggests that participants in
these studies were more than twice as likely to say ‘‘yes’’ when the request included
the BYAF than when it did not. The finding that only 22%of the variance could be
accounted for by sampling error suggests that this effect is moderated by other
Potential moderators were examined next. The first potential moderator was
whether the participants responded to the experimenter’s request with the exper-
imenter present or without the experimenter present. In 32 independent studies
(N¼13,434), the decision to comply occurred immediately upon request by the
experimenter. For this set, the sample-size weighted average effect size was r¼.18,
OR ¼2.20 with 40%of the variance attributed to sampling error (80%credibility
interval: .10 <q<.25). For the remaining 10 studies (N¼8,799), the participants
did not respond to the request with the experimenter present, as was the case when
they initially received the request via email (e.g., Gue
´guen et al., 2002) or were asked
to return a survey at a later time (e.g., Pascual & Gue
´guen, 2002, Study 5). The
sample-size weighted average effect size for this group was r¼.07, OR ¼1.77 with
24%of the explained variance attributed to sampling error (80%credibility interval:
0.01 <q<.15). Although neither effect size is an estimate for a homogeneous set,
the minimal overlap in credibility intervals suggests that they may be estimates of dif-
ferent population effect sizes. More simply put, when the decision to comply did not
occur with the requester present, the effectiveness of the BYAF technique was
substantially less pronounced.
Next was an examination of the three types of the request: prosocial requests (e.g.,
helping landmine victims, as in Gue
´guen et al., 2002 or responding to surveys as in
´guen & Pascual, 2005), self-interested requests (e.g., asking for money for the bus,
as in Gue
´guen & Pascual, 2000), and offers to benefit the respondent (e.g., participat-
ing in group activities in one’s nursing home, as in Marchand et al., 2009). Unfortu-
nately only two studies included offers, which were insufficient to yield a meaningful
estimate of the effect. There were 21 studies (N¼6,334) for which the request was
prosocial and 19 (N¼11,347) for which it was self-interested. The meta-analyses
indicated that both types of requests were equally likely to benefit from the BYAF
technique: prosocial, r¼.16, OR ¼1.93, 30%variance explained, 80%credibility
interval: 0.05 <q<.27; self-interested: r¼.16, OR ¼2.13, 28%of variance explained,
80%credibility interval: 0.08 <q<.24. The data were not consistent with the type of
request moderating the effectiveness of the technique.
12 C. J. Carpenter
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Publication Bias
According to Levine, Asada, and Carpenter (2009), there are many instances in com-
munication research such that studies are not published because they failed to detect
statistically significant effects. If studies go unpublished, they are generally not
included in meta-analyses; hence, those meta-analyses excluding them give poten-
tially biased estimates of the population effect size. They proposed that if the sample
size and the effect sizes in the corpus of studies under examination are strongly nega-
tively correlated, there may be many studies that went unpublished that are missing
from the corpus. Although this meta-analysis included several unpublished articles,
there may be others. In the BYAF set of studies, the sample sizes and the effect
sizes were correlated at r¼.30. This finding indicates the possibility of publication
In order to construct an estimate of the effect size, if the missing studies were
present, a trim-and-fill analysis was conducted (Duval & Tweedie, 2000). The trim-
and-fill algorithm has been used in previous meta-analyses of compliance-gaining
techniques (Carpenter & Boster, 2009). This algorithm examines the degree to which
a set of studies contains more studies that are larger than the average effect than stu-
dies that are smaller. Such an imbalance would indicate that the studies with smaller
effect sizes that would be expected to exist due to sampling error have been sup-
pressed. The trim-and-fill algorithm then estimates what the average effect size would
be if those phantom studies had been included in the meta-analysis. The trim-and-fill
algorithm estimated that if the studies missing due to publication bias were included
in this meta-analysis, the estimate of the correlation effect size would be reduced by
.04. Although this reduction is small, the average effect size is already modest and the
potential presence of unpublished null findings may reduce it further.
The meta-analysis of the research involving the BYAF technique yielded several
important findings. First, the effect size (r¼.13) is consistent with the effectiveness
of other techniques detected in the compliance-gaining literature. Andrews et al.
(2008) discovered that the legitimization of paltry favors produced a weighted mean
effect size of r¼.18, Carpenter and Boster (2009) reported that the disrupt-then-
reframe technique had a weighted mean effect size of r¼.28, Dillard et al. (1984)
determined that the foot-in-the-door technique had a weighted mean effect size of
r¼.11, and O’Keefe and Hale’s (1998) research indicated that the door-in-the-face
had a weighted mean effect size of r¼.10. The BYAF technique falls comfortably
within this range. It has merit for consideration by charities and other compliance-
gaining professionals in efforts to increase compliance with requests for donations.
The BYAF technique also has the virtue of being adaptable to potentially any con-
text. That the effect size was consistent for both prosocial and self-interested requests
in a variety of contexts (nursing homes, street requests, and survey requests) is
reflective of a technique that has widespread value. Additionally, it does not require
determining a context-appropriate means of disruption as the disrupt-then-reframe
But You Are Free 13
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requires or creating additional requests as the foot-in-the-door and the door-in-the-
face require. Finally, it can be used in contexts in which the legitimization of paltry
favors cannot be used because there are some contexts in which a paltry favor does
not seem helpful (e.g., only donating a few minutes of time to a charity would not be
a worthwhile contribution; Dibble et al., 2011). All that is required for the BYAF
technique is that the key phrase is added to the request.
On the other hand, the moderator analysis revealed that the technique may not
work well when the decision to comply does not occur in the presence of the
requester. It remains unclear if the technique’s effectiveness is reduced because reac-
tance is not as strongly aroused without the presence of the person threatening the
target’s freedom or if because the technique causes the target to attempt to engage
in a more positive self-presentation by complying with the more polite BYAF
technique than the direct request as is the case with other techniques (e.g., the legit-
imization of paltry favors; Andrews et al., 2008).
The primary limitation of this meta-analysis is the relatively small number of
researchers who have investigated the technique. Many of the studies were conducted
by either Gue
´guen or Pascual. The small number of researchers researching this topic
raises the specter of a variation on the Ohio State Effect found by Johnson and Eagly
(1989) such that the researchers who are the most invested in the success of the tech-
nique may be more likely to find that the technique is effective than less invested
researchers. Consistent with this possibility, the trim-and-fill analysis suggested that
there may be missing studies that could reduce the estimate of the effect size. On the
other hand, several of the smallest effect sizes for the technique listed in Table 1 were
found by either Gue
´guen or Pascual. The researchers have tested the BYAF technique
in a wide variety of contexts, so the range of tests is not restricted by researchers
repeating the same experiments using the same materials. Clearly, more research
by a variety of researchers is needed to provide strong evidence of the technique’s
Future Research
Additional work is needed on the theoretical explanations of the BYAF technique.
Despite dozens of studies having been conducted on the BYAF technique, none have
provided any evidence that the reactance explanation can or cannot explain the tech-
nique’s effectiveness. Samson (2009) found that requesters who used the BYAF
technique were liked better than those who used a direct request. Perhaps the BYAF
technique merely sounds more polite and increases compliance by increasing liking.
Critical tests of these explanations are required to advance the research on this tech-
nique. A study that varied whether or not the target is personally known to the
requester might help determine if the technique is based on self-presentation as
14 C. J. Carpenter
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people would care more about the impression they make on people with whom they
anticipate future interactions. A lab study could show participants a video of the
requester either using the technique or a direct request. Aroused reactance of the
participants could be measured and the hypothesized reduction caused by the BYAF
technique could be tested.
Additionally, the cause of the moderator uncovered here requires additional inves-
tigation. The BYAF technique was substantially less effective in situations in which
the decision to comply was not made with the requester present. There are situations
that, even if the decision were not made with the requester present, the requester
would find out if the target had complied, for example, if the target were emailed
a survey that the target knew would not be anonymous. Alternatively, the target could
be emailed a request to participate in a lab study with the requester. Such
experiments could help determine if it is the temporal gap between the request
and the decision that reduces the technique’s effectiveness or if it is the lack of
self-presentation concerns of the target.
In general, it appears that this relatively new compliance-gaining technique has
promise as a strategy for increasing the likelihood that individuals will say ‘‘yes’’ to
a request. On the other hand, it remains to be seen how effective it is when email
is the method of delivery and other contexts in which the decision is not made with
the requester present. Future work would profit from determining why the technique
works in order to improve its effectiveness and expand reactance theory.
[1] These variations were tested as potential moderators but none had any substantial effect on
the estimated effect size or substantially reduced the unexplained variance.
References marked with an asterisk were included in the meta-analysis.
Andrews, K. R., Carpenter, C. J., Shaw, A. S., & Boster, F. J. (2008). The legitimization of paltry
favors effect: A review and meta-analysis. Communication Reports,21, 59–69.
Anker, A., Reinhart, A., & Feeley, T. (2010). Meta-analysis of meta-analyses in communication:
Comparing fixed effects and random effects analysis models. Communication Quarterly,
58, 257–278.
Brehm, J. W. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance. New York, NY: Academic Press.
Carpenter, C. J., & Boster, F. J. (2009). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of the disrupt-then-
reframe compliance gaining technique. Communication Reports,22, 55–62.
Cooper, H. (1998). Synthesizing research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dibble, J. L., Cacal, M., Kubulins, A. R., Peyton, A. M., Taniguchi, E., van Raalte, L. J., & Wisner,
A. M. (2011). Sequential persuasion strategies: Testing explanations for and the generality of
the legitimization of paltry favors effect. Communication Reports,24, 63–73.
But You Are Free 15
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But You Are Free 17
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... And when people are given the freedom to choose messages themselves the effects can be completely different in both magnitude and direction (Druckman et al., 2012;Leeper, 2017). A recent meta-analysis also suggested that people are more likely to be influenced by information when they are told that they have a choice (Carpenter, 2013). ...
When people use social networking sites, they may be exposed to political content they have chosen (selective exposure) and content they have not chosen (forced exposure). Counter-attitudinal content that people have not chosen can provoke them to resist persuasion by counterarguing and disliking their political opponents. I test these assumptions by exposing participants to threatening and uncivil Facebook comments about refugee immigration consistent or inconsistent with their preferred choice (i.e., pro-attitudinal or counter-attitudinal exposure). Using a preregistered 2 × 3 × 2 quasi-randomized web survey experiment (n = 2,514), the results indicate that people who are exposed to threatening and uncivil comments they have not chosen become angry and start to counterargue. However, they do not necessarily start to dislike their political opponents. This article contributes to discussions about affective polarization and psychological reactance. More specifically, social networking sites that try to expose users to opposing viewpoints by design, so that users are incidentally exposed to content they do not want to see, may unintentionally create hostility instead.
... A meta-analysis was excluded if it examined the effects of non-message variations such as psychological states (e.g., van Laer, de Ruyter, Visconti, & Wetzels, 2014;Walter, Tukachinsky, Pelled, & Nabi, 2019;Xu & Guo, 2018) or the presence (vs. absence) of some preceding message (e.g., Dillard, Hunter, & Burgoon, 1984;Feeley, Anker, & Aloe, 2012), compared a message form against a no-message control (e.g., Braddock & Dillard, 2016;Chan, Jones, Jamieson, & Albarracín, 2017), included non-experimental studies or studies lacking a control condition (e.g., Shen & Han, 2014;Sun, Miu, Wong, Tucker, & Wong, 2018), examined outcomes other than attitude, intention, or behavior (e.g., Portnoy, Ferrer, Bergman, & Klein, 2014), was restricted to studies examining only one kind of outcome of interest (e.g., Burger & Caputo, 2015;Carpenter, 2013;Hamilton & Hunter, 1998;Lee, Moon, & Feeley, 2016), reported results only for composite persuasion outcomes (e.g., Brugman, Burgers, & Vis, 2019;Cheng & Yan, 2020;Seo & Kim, 2018), did not contain any studies yielding within-study comparisons (e.g., Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, & Boster, 2008;Lee & Feeley, 2017), analyzed multiple ESs for the same outcome based on a given message pair or set of participants (e.g., Eisend, 2006), or if necessary information about individual studies (ES, sample size, outcome variable) was not available even after correspondence with authors (e.g., Edison, 2008;Fischer & Huber, 2015;Freling, 2017;Freling, Vincent, & Henard, 2014;Grewal, Kavanoor, Fern, Costley, & Barnes, 1997;Lunt, 2016;Wirtz, Sparks, & Zimbres, 2018). ...
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Persuasive message designers would like to be able to pretest messages to see which will be more effective in influencing behavioral outcomes, but pretesting using behavioral measures is commonly not practical. Examination of within-study effect size comparisons from 317 studies of 22 message variations suggests that persuasive messages’ relative effectiveness is strikingly similar across attitudinal, intention, and behavioral outcomes—with messages’ relative persuasiveness with respect to intention outcomes especially indicative of relative persuasiveness with respect to behavioral outcomes. Intention measures thus provide a convenient and accurate means of persuasive message pretesting.
... These findings are consistent with a weak-sized increase in effectiveness associated with using SP or the BYAF technique instead of a direct request. It is notable that Carpenter (2013) found r = .13 in his meta-analysis on BYAF. ...
Introduction The chaining procedure consists in linking together two or more compliance gaining strategies in order to obtain greater behavioral compliance. Objective In two studies we tested chaining that included two compliance gaining procedures: the “but you are free” technique (BYAF) and social proof (SP). Method A total of 2204 passersby were approached in different countries (France, Tunisia, China and Moldavia). They were asked to donate money for cancer research with, respectively, a control formulation, a BYAF formulation, a SP formulation or a BYAF + SP formulation. Results Observations indicate that chaining did not work because the BYAF + SP condition produced the same behavioral compliance as BYAF or SP separately (studies 1 and 2). Furthermore, we analyzed the participants’ justifications after complying with or rejecting the request and the reasons were substantially the same under each condition (study 2). Conclusion Failure to observe the chaining process is interpreted through theoretical explanations whereby BYAF and SP are antagonistic.
... The governing bodies allotted cultural programs that extend cultural exhibitions and products. According to Carpenter (2013), Kelly and Frevsinger (2000), how individuals in a selfgoverning social order select to devote their optional period has been of awareness to regeneration specialists and arts administrators whose occupations are to enhance and provide arts and cultural platforms. Therefore, it is significant to understand the predictable aids that individuals appreciate during leisure involvement. ...
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Over the past decade, global studies on ecotourism provide an illuminating hope for economic development (Sangpakil, 2017; Kim, Xie, & Cirella, 2019; Wahono, Poernomo, & Kusumah, 2019). However, fewer of these studies work on rural ecotourism. With hopes on the potentiality of rural ecotourism in Quirino Province, this research delved into the management bearings of rural ecotourism. Primarily, it trails the various management practices of ecotourism attractions and significant differences in the responses thereof including problems encountered in this management journey. Anent to, employed descriptive approach. Data were obtained from a survey questionnaire and were statistically analyzed through SPSS. Revealed thereof, management responsibilities on ecotourism sites are most practiced. Interestingly, among these practices training for tourist personnel, facilities, services and infrastructures, cultural heritage, and marketing seemed to be substantial and need attention. Also, problems, such as few numbers of tourist arrival noted, lack of equipment for recreational activities in ecotourism sites, and lack of parking areas were the factors that require attention. With these aforementioned revelations, a proposed sustainable development plan was moulded.
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Whereas the persuasive impact of message variables such as weaker versus stronger threat appeals, vivid versus pallid messages, and one-sided versus two-sided messages has received much research attention, more abstract properties of such message variables have gone largely unexamined. This article reports an analysis of one such property, reconstructability: the degree to which one of the two messages in an experimental pair can be deduced from the other. Evidence is offered from research on persuasive communication that as message variables become less reconstructable, the variability of the associated effect sizes increases—which creates distinctive challenges for theoretical progress and practical message design. Attention to message-variable properties such as reconstructability promises to shed light on how and why effects differ across message variables.
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Objective A large body of research has established that cellphone use while driving (CUWD) is common and dangerous. However, little research has been conducted about how people react psychologically to various distraction-reduction strategies and, ultimately, support or do not support them. Understanding support for reduction is important for predicting use of technological solutions and compliance with laws and for improving communication and education about the risks of CUWD. Methods We measured support for a variety of legislative, technological, and organizational strategies to reduce CUWD in an online sample of American drivers (N = 648). We also developed evidence-based communication techniques, describing strategies in terms of benefits vs. costs or using freedom-invoking vs. freedom-reducing language to assess what would influence support. Results Support for CUWD reduction was generally high. It was predicted by driver characteristics and beliefs. For example, drivers who supported reducing CUWD more also had lower CUWD reactance, greater anti-CUWD beliefs, higher personal risk perceptions of CUWD, and greater self-reported distracted driving. Age and perceived ability to drive distracted did not predict overall support. However, two strategies that allow for handsfree phone use were supported more by people who engaged in more CUWD, perceived they had greater ability to CUWD, perceived more benefits to CUWD, had more positive affect to cellphones, and were younger. Communication techniques also influenced support. Specifically, the same strategy was supported more when described using benefits and permissive language instead of costs and restrictive language. Conclusions Most respondents supported strategies to reduce CUWD, and beliefs about risks and benefits predicted this snupport. Reactance to CUWD messaging emerged as a key predictor of lower support (and of greater self-reported distracted driving), indicating that it could be an important variable to consider when designing strategies to reduce CUWD. When targeting people resistant to quitting CUWD entirely, communicators could recommend a switch to handsfree use. Communicators who emphasize benefits and use permissive language also may increase support for CUWD reduction.
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Persuaders face many message design choices: narrative or non-narrative format, gain-framed or loss-framed appeals, one-sided or two-sided messages, and so on. But a review of 1,149 studies of 30 such message variations reveals that, although there are statistically significant differences in persuasiveness between message forms, it doesn't make much difference to persuasiveness which option is chosen (as evidenced by small mean effect sizes, that is, small differences in persuasiveness: median mean rs of about 0.10); moreover, choosing the on-average-more-effective option does not consistently confer a persuasive advantage (as evidenced by 95% prediction intervals that include both positive and negative values). Strikingly, these results obtain even when multiple moderating conditions are specified. Implications for persuasive message research and practice are discussed.
The Internet is creating an increasing number of virtual communities and organisations. For many people, these virtual spaces are more real and important to them than anything in the physical world. The nature of these virtual communities and the way they are changing the relationship between market and non-market forms, are the focus of this article. As our study of the independent music scene in South Korea will show, fans have created their own virtual community, which has developed powerful non-market practices that coexist with and influence existing market practices to create a new, hybrid economic mechanism. To understand how this apparently chaotic and unregulated hybrid economic mechanism operates, we draw on studies of digital economy. This perspective seeks to understand hybridity in the economy and widespread participation and power equalisation as core factors in the development of virtual communities.
Voters make their decisions based on several factors; however, cognitive dissonance and ego-involvement are two forces that work to keep voters’ choices consistent over time. Despite these internal pressures, there are times when a particular candidate has disappointed a voter to such an extent that the voter considers voting for a different candidate in the next election. 170 young voters were asked about their feelings of regret and their need for permission to change their minds and vote differently in a future election. Findings suggest that women and Democrats are more likely to need permission to change their votes than men and Republicans. Furthermore, there is a significant relationship between regret and desire to change one’s vote with the need for permission to do so on election day. Lastly, the importance of having that permission will affect a voter’s feelings of obligation to cast a ballot for the same party. Open ended responses explore the idea of obligation versus making a change in more detail. Findings suggest that correct messaging about the ability one has to change one’s mind and also being granted permission to vote differently may be an effective campaign messaging strategy.
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Meta-analysis of the foot-in-the-door (FITD) and door-in-the-face (DITF) literatures showed both effects to be small (r = .17, .15 respectively), even under optimal conditions. Both require aprosocial topic in order to work. The amount of time between the first and second requests plays a different role in the operation of each of the two strategies. DITF was effective only when the delay between requests was brief. Effectiveness of FITD was unrelated to delay, but did depend on whether or not an incentive was provided with the first request. The positive relationship between effort and FITD predicted by self-perception theory was not found. Self-perception theory and reciprocal concessions theory, the theoretical perspectives usually applied to FITD and DITF respectively are examined in light of the findings and it is concluded that both are flawed seriously. Directions for future research are suggested.
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The "but you are free to accept or to refuse" technique is a compliance procedure in which someone is approached with a request by simply telling him/her that he/she is free to accept or to refuse the request. This semantic evocation leads to increase compliance with the request. Furthermore, in most of the studies in which this technique was tested, subjects have been asked to give money to a confederate. A new evaluation of the effect of this technique was tested in an experiment in which subjects in the street have been approached to respond to a survey. The results show that, when the semantic evocation of freedom is included in the request, a higher compliance rate occurred. The commitment theory was used to explain such results.
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Meta-analysis collects and synthesizes results from individual studies to estimate an overall effect size. If published studies are chosen, say through a literature review, then an inherent selection bias may arise, because, for example, studies may tend to be published more readily if they are statistically significant, or deemed to be more “interesting” in terms of the impact of their outcomes. We develop a simple rank-based data augmentation technique, formalizing the use of funnel plots, to estimate and adjust for the numbers and outcomes of missing studies. Several nonparametric estimators are proposed for the number of missing studies, and their properties are developed analytically and through simulations. We apply the method to simulated and epidemiological datasets and show that it is both effective and consistent with other criteria in the literature.
A random-effects meta-analysis of research concerning the door-in-the-face (DITF) influence strategy provides evidence supporting more confident generalizations about the role of several moderator variables than that provided by previous reviews. Variations in the identity of the requester, the identity of the beneficiary, the prosocialness of the requests, the medium of communication, and the time interval between requests all appear to influence the size of DITF effects; variations in concession size do not. DITF effects are small in absolute terms (with an overall mean r of .10), but not remarkably small in the context of other effect sizes concerning social influence. However, there is substantial variability in DITF effects, even under optimal conditions. The review’s findings are not easily reconciled with most proposed explanations of DITF effects, but appear consistent with a guilt-based account.
In a field experiment using the selective sorting of household wastes as the dependant variable, we have tested the combined effect of two techniques that induced compliance to a request: the foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique and the "but you are free ..." technique. Homeowners were asked to record on a form their entire household wastes for 1 month. In the FITD technique, participants were first asked to respond to a short survey on selective sorting habits. In the "but you are free ... " condition, the request for participation included a sentence that stated that the participant was free to accept to participate or not: "Of course you are free to accept or to refuse." In the combined FITD/"you are free ..." condition, the first request was addressed to the participant and the sentence that stated that the participant was free appeared in the second request. In a control condition, the final request was addressed without any mention that the participant was free or not to accept. Results found that the combined FITD/"you are free ..." condition was associated with greater compliance in completing the survey (78.%) than the single FITD (60.0%) and the "but you are free ..." condition (56.0%), whereas each of these three experimental conditions elicited greater compliance to complete the survey than in the control condition (40.0%). Commitment theory and practical interest of this combined technique for ecology are discussed.
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.
The legitimization of paltry favors effect (LPF) is a sequential persuasion tactic whereby small contributions toward some overall compliance-gaining goal are linguistically minimized. An experiment was conducted to test whether self-presentation concerns or barrier removal better explains the LPF. Participants (N = 145) were approached and asked to volunteer for international student programs. Message strategy (LPF/no LPF) and beneficiary party (first-person/third-person) were varied. The data revealed neither main effects for message strategy or beneficiary party, nor any interaction between these variables. Results question the generality of the LPF, as well as the appropriateness of utilizing the LPF in volunteer solicitation efforts. Limitations and implications are discussed.
Confronted with the social exclusion of the elderly [cf. Pellissier, J., 2003. La nuit, tous les vieux sont gris. La société contre la vieillesse. Bibliophane-Daniel Radford, Paris], some old peoples homes propose to their residents to participate in social activities, but about 56% of the residents never participate [Paillat, P., 1982. Vieillissement et vieillesse. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris]. In an initial study [Pratiques Psychol 13 (2) (2007), 213–225], two free compliance procedures were used, jointly, to help the residents of an old peoples home overcome their isolation [Joule, R.-V., Beauvois, J.-L., 1998. La soumission librement consentie. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, Joule, R.-V., Beauvois, J.-L., 2002. Petit traité de manipulation à l’usage des honnêtes gens. Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, Grenoble]: the “but you are free to..” procedure [Curr Res Soc Psychol 5 (18) (2000), 264–270]; and the “touch” procedure [J Exp Soc Psychol 13 (1977), 218–223]. The present research analysed the split effects of both procedures used. Results showed the effectiveness of a touch procedure on intention to participate and the actual participation in social activities by the residents (as proposed by the homes). Besides, the use of a new procedure of free compliance (foot-in-the-door [J Pers Soc Psychol (4) (1966), 195–202]) allowed to revive the observed effects.