Article

Ask in person: You're less persuasive than you think over email

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Abstract

Research has found people underestimate the likelihood strangers will comply with their direct requests (Bohns, 2016; Flynn & Lake (Bohns), 2008). Here we argue this “underestimation-of-compliance effect” may be limited to requests made face-to-face. We find when making direct requests over email, requesters instead overestimate compliance. In two studies, participants asked strangers to comply with requests either face-to-face or over email. Before making these requests, requesters estimated the number of people they expected to say “yes”. While requesters underestimated compliance in face-to-face contexts, replicating previous research, they overestimated compliance in email contexts. Analyses of several theorized mechanisms for this finding suggest that requesters, anchored on their own perspectives, fail to appreciate the suspicion, and resulting lack of empathy, with which targets view email requests from strangers. Given the prevalence of email and text-based communication, this is an extremely important moderator of the underestimation-of-compliance effect.

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... In line with this argument, Flynn and Lake (2008) found that people felt more comfortable rejecting help requests when these requests were written out on a piece of paper and handed to targets. Similarly, other research has found that people are much more likely to refuse emailed help requests than those made in-person (Constant et al., 1996;Dabbish et al., 2005;Gerber & Green, 2000;Ling et al., 2005;Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017;Zhu et al., 2016). ...
... The limited work that has tackled the question of how the accuracy of these predictions vary by communication channel has specifically examined whether help-seekers recognize the differential effectiveness of text-based versus in-person communication channels when asking for help (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). This work has found that help-seekers fail to differentiate between communication channels that produce vastly different compliance rates (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). ...
... The limited work that has tackled the question of how the accuracy of these predictions vary by communication channel has specifically examined whether help-seekers recognize the differential effectiveness of text-based versus in-person communication channels when asking for help (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). This work has found that help-seekers fail to differentiate between communication channels that produce vastly different compliance rates (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). While in-person help requests were 34 times more effective than those sent via email in the study noted earlier, help-seekers thought the two communication channels would produce similar results. ...
Article
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Research has found that people are much more likely to agree to help requests made in-person than those made via text-based media, but that help-seekers underestimate the relative advantage of asking for help face-to-face. It remains unknown what help-seekers’ intuitions about the effectiveness of richer media channels incorporating audio and video features might be, or how these intuitions would compare with the actual effectiveness of face-to-face or email versus rich media requests. In two behavioral and two supplemental vignette experiments, participants expected differences in the effectiveness of seeking help through various communication channels to be quite small, or nonexistent. However, when participants actually made requests, the differences were substantial. Ultimately, help-seekers underestimated the relative advantage of asking for help face-to-face compared with asking through any mediated channel. Help-seekers also underestimated the relative advantage of asking through richer media channels compared with email.
... In line with this argument, Flynn and Lake (2008) found that people felt more comfortable rejecting help requests when these requests were written out on a piece of paper and handed to targets. Similarly, other research has found that people are much more likely to refuse emailed help-requests than those made in-person (Constant et al., 1996;Dabbish et al., 2005;Gerber & Green, 2000;Ling et al., 2005;Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017;Zhu et al., 2016). ...
... The limited work that has tackled the question of how the accuracy of these predictions vary by communication channel has specifically examined whether help-seekers recognize the differential effectiveness of text-based versus in-person communication channels when asking for help (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). This work has found that help-seekers fail to differentiate between communication channels that produce vastly different compliance rates (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). ...
... The limited work that has tackled the question of how the accuracy of these predictions vary by communication channel has specifically examined whether help-seekers recognize the differential effectiveness of text-based versus in-person communication channels when asking for help (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). This work has found that help-seekers fail to differentiate between communication channels that produce vastly different compliance rates (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). While in-person help-requests were 34 times more effective than those sent via email in the study noted earlier, helpseekers thought the two communication channels would produce similar results. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research has found that people are much more likely to agree to help requests made in-person than those made via text-based media, but that help-seekers underestimate the relative advantage of asking for help face-to-face. It remains unknown what help-seekers’ intuitions about the effectiveness of richer media channels incorporating audio and video features might be, or how these intuitions would compare to the actual effectiveness of face-to-face or email versus rich media requests. In two behavioral and two supplemental vignette experiments, participants expected differences in the effectiveness of seeking help through various communication channels to be quite small, or nonexistent. However, when participants actually made requests, the differences were quite large. Ultimately, help-seekers underestimated the relative advantage of asking for help face-to-face compared to asking through any mediated channel. Help-seekers also underestimated the relative advantage of asking through richer media channels compared to email.
... Some examples of compliance problems include decisions related to buying a product, donating to a charity, or, generally, complying with a request. The literature in psychology, communications, and political science has noted the face effect, i.e., face-to-face interactions are more effective in inducing compliance than other forms of interactions, such as direct mail, telephone calls, and emails (e.g., Milgram, 1965b;Gerber and Green, 2000;Roghanizad and Bohns, 2017). ...
... More recent research has noted the face effect (e.g., Milgram, 1965b;Gerber and Green, 2000;Roghanizad and Bohns, 2017). For example, Gerber and Green (2000) found that personal canvassing increases voter turnout more than direct mail and telephone calls in a field experiment. ...
... For example, Gerber and Green (2000) found that personal canvassing increases voter turnout more than direct mail and telephone calls in a field experiment. Roghanizad and Bohns (2017) suggest that people often underestimate compliance rate in face-to-face interactions while overestimating compliance rate of emails due to varied trust and empathy levels of the two channels. Yet the underlying mechanism of the face effect has rarely been explicitly explored (Gerber and Green, 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
Face-to-face interactions are central to many individual choices and decision-making issues, such as customer services, sales, promotions, and negotiations. While the face effect, that is, face-to-face interactions are more effective in inducing compliance than other forms of interactions, has been noted in the literature, its mechanism has rarely been explored. This research helps to fill the theoretical void and provides new insights into the face effect with two lab experiments and one field experiment. Study 1, a field experiment conducted in a beauty salon, and Study 2, a lab experiment, show that the face effect is largely attributable to anticipated facial feedback and that the face effect is stronger when individuals are sensitive to face and when the requester’s face is expressive. Study 3, using video-simulated face-to-face interactions, demonstrates that anticipated facial feedback, not necessarily actual feedback, is enough to drive the face effect. In so doing, this research furthers our understanding of factors that affect individual compliance in face-to-face interactions in both the “sending” and “receiving” stages. We discuss the theoretical and empirical implications, limitations, and future avenues of research.
... Podobno vzporednico bi lahko potegnili z optimizacijo dislociranih delovnih procesov, kjer je komunikacija med posamezniki ključna za realizacijo izbranega cilja. Ob tem poudarimo, da je neposredna grafično pogojena komunikacija bistveno učinkovitejša od pisne izmenjave sporočil s pomočjo spletne pošte ali klepetalnice [11]. Navidezna resničnost se tako kaže kot učinkovita alternativa predvsem zaradi kognitivne percepcije prejetih sporočil, ki je podobna stvarnim odnosom [12]. ...
Conference Paper
This paper overtakes the form of a discussion article that briefly analyses the societal and technological progress of individual and group interactions within virtual reality space. From basic interactions between simplified avatars in early 90. to more complex ones in recent year, we are witnessing the drastic popularization of virtual reality as social tool or social VR for short. In this article, we will take a look over early virtual reality environments where individuals could interact both with modular objects and other individuals. For the purpose of deeper understanding of recent trends, we will compare them with modern virtual spaces and discuss their use. We will also set two examples that point towards potential merging of now fragmented and separated virtual environments in the near future and by that discuss the future pathways of social VR.
... A recent study documents that compliance with requests communicated through e-mail (i.e. computer-mediated text) is often overestimated (Roghanizad and Bohns, 2017). The results of these studies confirm that videotaped messages tend to facilitate a more impactful communication. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine potential determinants of management’s agreement with internal auditor recommendations of an interim assurance engagement. Design/methodology/approach The experiment involved a 2 × 2 × 2 design with internal auditor gender, mode of communication and root cause variables randomly assigned to 228 experienced managers. Findings When the internal auditor includes a root cause for an identified deficiency in an internal audit report, management perceptions of the quality of that report improve. The gender of the internal auditor who communicates the audit finding with management does not significantly impact management’s perceptions. Additionally, communicating the internal audit report via e-mail instead of videoconference results in improved managerial perceptions of the quality of the internal auditor. While improvements in perceptions of internal auditor quality lead to greater agreement with internal auditor recommendations, improvements in perceptions of report quality lead to greater implementation of internal-auditor-recommended remediation strategies. Research limitations/implications The operationalization of the manipulated variables of interest (communication mode, gender and root cause) may limit the generalizability of the study’s results. Practical implications The paper includes managerial implications for internal auditors’ choice of communication mode and inclusion of a root cause in interim internal audit reports. Originality/value This study provides evidence on the factors that could improve management’s perceptions of internal auditors’ work. The findings can help organizations, such as the Institute of Internal Auditors, to better understand how to address the needs of those who communicate with internal auditors.
... A similar parallel can be drawn with the optimization of dislocated work processes, where communication between individuals is key for the realization of a set goal. Here we must emphasize, that direct graphically conditioned communication is significantly more effective than the exchange of written messages using email or chatrooms [11]. Virtual reality thus presents itself as an effective alternative, mostly due to the cognitive perception of messages, which is similar to real relationships [12]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper takes the form of a discussion article that briefly analyses the societal and technological progress of individual and group interactions within virtual reality space. From basic interactions between simplified avatars in the early 1990s to more complex ones in recent years, we are witnessing the drastic popularization of virtual reality as a social tool-or social VR for short. In this article, we will take a look at early virtual reality environments, where individuals could interact both with modular objects and other individuals. To better understand recent trends, we will compare the aforementioned with modern virtual spaces and discuss their use. We will also set two examples, which point towards potential merging of the now fragmented and separated virtual environments in the near future and, in doing so, discuss the future pathways of social VR.
... Communicators tend to overestimate the degree to which recipients will comply with email (vs. face-to-face) requests, as well as the degree to which email requests will seem trustworthy (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). Relatedly, the potential for misunderstanding is higher in mediated communication (Waterworth & Waterworth, 2006). ...
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Precision medicine (PM) draws upon individual biological and psychosocial factors to create a personalized approach to healthcare. To date, little is known about how healthcare consumers will respond to such highly personalized guidance and treatment. The assumption is that responses will generally be favorable; yet in the media and in online public discussions about PM, concerns have been raised about invasions of privacy and autonomy. Findings from the tailoring literature—relevant because PM is, in a sense, “hypertailoring”—similarly suggest a potential for provoking unintended consequences such as personalization reactance, wherein perceived threat to one’s privacy or freedom can lead to rejection of the personalized message or its source. Here, we review extant tailoring and other relevant research to identify challenges that could arise in PM communication. We then draw upon a patient-centered communication perspective to highlight elements of the communication process wherein resistance could be mitigated. This review aims to provide preliminary guidance for practitioners when communicating with patients and healthcare consumers about PM, as well as point scholars toward fruitful topics for research in this emerging health communication area.
... This occurred because more Calgary patients received completion requests in person during subsequent follow-up visits; whereas more Edmonton patients were followed-up over email. This finding is consistent with previous studies that found face-to-face requests to be more successful than email requests [48]. A future sensitivity analysis could be performed to further examine the impact of this difference; however, bias resulting from non-response in surveys is difficult to assess since information about non-responders is rarely available. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Measuring quality in healthcare is vital in evaluating patient outcomes and system performance. The availability of reliable and valid information about the quality of care for patients presenting with rotator cuff disorders (RCD) in Alberta, Canada is scarce. The objective of this study is to measure quality of care for patients with RCD in order to identify areas of improvement. Methods: This study employs descriptive survey research design. Between March 2015 and November 2016, a convenience sample of patients presenting with chronic, full-thickness rotator cuff tears to two sport medicine centres in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta completed two questionnaires: the Healthcare Access and Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire (HAPSQ) and the Rotator Cuff Quality-of-Life Index (RC-QOL). Data collected using both questionnaires were used to make judgments about quality of care. Quality of care was evaluated using six dimensions of quality defined by the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health: accessibility, acceptability, efficiency, effectiveness, appropriateness, and safety. Data was also used to compare current patient clinical pathways to ideal clinical pathway algorithms and used to make judgments about the appropriateness and safety of healthcare practices. Results: One hundred seventy-one patients participated in the study. The longest mean waiting times for medical services in Alberta were for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) received in the public sector (103 days) and consultation by orthopaedic surgeon (172 days). Patient satisfaction with respect to quality of care was lowest for emergency room physician and highest for orthopaedic surgeon visits. Patients were treated by a mean of 2.5 physicians (SD: 0.77, range: 2-7). The total aggregate average cost per patient was $4541.19. The mean RC-QOL score for all patients was 42 (SD: 22). Only 54 patients (64%) requiring surgery were able to consult with a surgeon within benchmark timeframes. A comparison of current to ideal clinical pathway algorithms found that 38 patients (22%) experienced indirect clinical pathways, whereby care was fragmented and patients received care from multiple and often, redundant healthcare professionals. Conclusion: There is a discrepancy between current and ideal clinical pathways whereby some patients are experiencing quality of care that is inefficient, disjointed, and less than ideal.
... In these studies, participants consistently and substantially underestimated the likelihood that others would comply with their direct, face-to-face requests, because they underestimated the power of the strong social forces that drive people to say "yes" (by making it awkward and uncomfortable to say "no") in these situations. These findings have since been replicated and extended in numerous follow-up studies (Bohns et al., 2011Newark, Bohns, & Flynn, 2017;Newark, Flynn, & Bohns, 2014;Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). This underestimation-of-compliance effect, like the invisibility cloak, would predict an overall tendency to underestimate one's influence over others. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Purpose We explore how, and how accurately, people assess their influence over others’ behavior and attitudes. We describe the process by which a person would determine whether he or she was responsible for changing someone else’s behavior or attitude, and the perceptual, motivational, and cognitive factors that are likely to impact whether an influencer’s claims of responsibility are excessive, insufficient, or accurate. Methodology/approach We first review classic work on social influence, responsibility or blame attribution, and perceptions of control, identifying a gap in the literature with respect to understanding how people judge their own responsibility for other people’s behavior and attitudes. We then draw from a wide range of social psychological research to propose a model of how an individual would determine his or her degree of responsibility for someone else’s behavior or attitude. Practical implications A potential influencer’s beliefs about the extent of his or her influence can determine whether he or she engages in an influence attempt, how he or she engages in such an attempt, and whether he or she takes responsibility for another person’s behavior or beliefs. Originality/value of paper For decades, scholars researching social influence have explored how one’s behavior and attitudes are shaped by one’s social environment. However, amidst this focus on the perspective of the target of social influence, the perspective of the influencer has been ignored. This paper addresses the largely neglected question of how much responsibility influencers take for the impact their words, actions, and presence have on others. © 2018 by Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
... Future research may extend our results to face to face communication, which offers different opportunities and constraints than online solicitations. In particular, saying no is more unpleasant in face to face communication (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017) and may lead to a stronger need for justification, and thus, a stronger reassessment of the request and the requester. Finally, we note that the mechanisms we investigated, and their implications, may also apply beyond the domain of charity donations. ...
Article
Full-text available
We extend research on charity donations by exploring an everyday tactic for increasing compliance: asking politely. We consider three possible effects of politeness on charity donations: a positive effect, a negative effect, and a wiggle‐room effect where the perception of the request is adjusted to decline donating without feeling selfish. Results from six experiments systematically supported the polite wiggle‐room effect. In hypothetical donations contexts, indirect requests were judged more polite. In real donation contexts, though, indirect requests were not judged as more polite and had no consistent effect on donation decision. Rather, the decision to donate predicted the perceived politeness of the request, independently of its phrasing. Experiment 4 provided causal evidence that participants justified their donation decisions by adjusting their perception of the request. The polite wiggle‐room effect has important implications for organizations that seek to increase compliance while maintaining a positive image.
... A sample size of 25 primary participants per condition has 80% power to detect underestimation-of-compliance effects of d = 0.40 or greater. Underestimation-of-compliance effects are typically larger than this, e.g., d = 1.10 in Study 1 of Flynn and Bohns (2008), d = 1.00 in Study 1 of Roghanizad and Bohns (2017). In this experiment (and Studies 1b and 2), primary participants received $15.00 in two installments ($5 at the first lab session; $10 at the second lab session). ...
Article
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Those seeking help systematically underestimate the likelihood that strangers will help them (Bohns, 2016). However, it is not known whether this same error persists when requesting help from people with whom we interact regularly. In three experiments (the last of which was pre-registered), participants (N = 310) predicted the likelihood that either their friends or strangers would agree to a request for help. Participants then approached members of one of these two groups (i.e., friends or strangers) with this request (N = 953). We confirmed our predictions that (1) overall help-seekers would underestimate the likelihood that those they approached for help would agree to their requests and that (2) this underestimation error would be smaller for participants making requests of friends. We also found that (3) the underestimation effect persists even for those making requests of friends and (4) help-seekers expected the rate of helping between the two groups to vary more than it did. We discuss and test several mechanisms that might account for these effects. These findings suggest people may over-rely on their friends, and discount the role of strangers, when seeking help.
... When researcher-participant social contact is high-as is the case with proctored laboratory questionnaires-participants who respond carelessly may incur heavy psychological costs. This happens because proximity to the researcher imposes several features that can make behaving carelessly uncomfortable: Proximity, for instance, may cause participants to like the researcher (see Moon, 1999) and empathize with his or her requests (see Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017). These qualities, however, are largely absent when participants complete a study questionnaire online. ...
Article
Is there a point within a self-report questionnaire where participants will start responding carelessly? If so, then after how many items do participants reach that point? And what can researchers do to encourage participants to remain careful throughout the entirety of a questionnaire? We conducted two studies (Study 1 N = 358; Study 2 N = 129) to address these questions. Our results found (a) consistent evidence that participants responded more carelessly as they progressed further into a questionnaire, (b) mixed evidence that participants who were warned that carelessness would be punished displayed smaller increases in carelessness, and (c) mixed evidence that increases in carelessness were greater within an unproctored online study (Study 1) than within a proctored laboratory study (Study 2). These findings help address when and why careless responding is likely to occur, and they suggest effective preventive strategies.
... Information-rich media (e.g., video conferencing) can maintain a sense of social connection across physical distance [77]. By contrast, impoverished text-based media (e.g., email, Twitter) can increase misunderstanding in communication [78][79][80][81], diminish perceptions of an interaction partner's mental competence [82,83], and reduce the likelihood of receiving help following a request [84] compared to using information-rich media. ...
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A person’s well-being depends heavily on forming and maintaining positive relationships, but people can be reluctant to connect in ways that would create or strengthen relationships. Emerging research suggests that miscalibrated social cognition may create psychological barriers to connecting with others more often. Specifically, people may underestimate how positively others will respond to their own sociality across a variety of social actions, including engaging in conversation, expressing appreciation, and performing acts of kindness. We suggest that these miscalibrated expectations are created and maintained by at least three mechanisms: differential construal, uncertain responsiveness, and asymmetric learning. Underestimating the positive consequences of social engagement could make people less social than would be optimal for both their own and others’ well-being.
... Written communications have been shown consistently to be less effective or persuasive than face-to-face meetings (Roghanizad and Bohns 2017), and in many cases, telephone conversations may be more productive than email communication. Moreover, do not assume that partners have reliable internet access or that an unanswered email is a lack of interest. ...
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... After arriving at the laboratory, participants (our compliment givers) were told they would go to an assigned campus location (e.g., dining hall, building lobby), and give a simple, straightforward compliment to a matched gender stranger. Following the procedure of Roghanizad & Bohns (2017) to reduce selection bias, participants were instructed to compliment the fourth male or female (depending on their own gender) they saw (compliment receivers) once they arrived at their designated location. They were instructed to say, "I like your shirt" (or jacket or dress, if no shirt was visible). ...
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... Conversely, reliance on a single source, such as auditory communication only, as occurs in telephonic communications, decreases accuracy and effectiveness in monolingual interactions. For example, face-to-face monolingual requests secured 34 times as much compliance as the same request via e-mail (Roghanizad & Bohns, 2017), a difference attributable to the presence of nonverbal cues in the face-to-face condition. Recently, in legal settings, in line with the multimodal model of communication, linguists have taken nonverbal communication (e.g., gesture) and spatial and visual relations among the participants, into account (Conley et al., 2019). ...
Chapter
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People often draw trait inferences from the facial appearance of other people. We investigated the minimal conditions under which people make such inferences. In five experiments, each focusing on a specific trait judgment, we manipulated the exposure time of unfamiliar faces. Judgments made after a 100-ms exposure correlated highly with judgments made in the absence of time constraints, suggesting that this exposure time was sufficient for participants to form an impression. In fact, for all judgments-attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness-increased exposure time did not significantly increase the correlations. When exposure time increased from 100 to 500 ms, participants' judgments became more negative, response times for judgments decreased, and confidence in judgments increased. When exposure time increased from 500 to 1,000 ms, trait judgments and response times did not change significantly (with one exception), but confidence increased for some of the judgments; this result suggests that additional time may simply boost confidence in judgments. However, increased exposure time led to more differentiated person impressions.
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Many economists and biologists view cooperation as anomalous: animals (including humans) who pursue their own self-interest have superior survival odds to their altruistic or cooperative neighbors. However, in many situations there are substantial gains to the group that can achieve cooperation among its members, and to individuals who are members of those groups. For an individual, the key to successful cooperation is the ability to identify cooperative partners. The ability to signal and detect the intention to cooperate would be a very valuable skill for humans to posses. Smiling is frequently observed in social interactions between humans, and may be used as a signal of the intention to cooperate. However, given that humans have the ability to smile falsely, the ability to detect intentions may go far beyond the ability to recognize a smile. In the present study, we examine the value of a smile in a simple bargaining context. 120 subjects participate in a laboratory experiment cons...
The value of a helping hand: Help-seekers' predictions of help quality
  • D A Newark
  • V K Bohns
  • F J Flynn
Newark, D. A., Bohns, V. K., & Flynn, F. J. (2016). The value of a helping hand: Help-seekers' predictions of help quality. Manuscript submitted for publication.