When Death Is Compelling: Door-in-the-Face Compliance Under Mortality Salience

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Abstract

Research on terror management theory has found evidence that people under mortality salience strive to live up to activated social norms and values. Recently, research has shown that mortality salience also increases adherence to the norm of reciprocity. Based on this, in the current paper we investigated the idea that mortality salience influences persuasion strategies that are based on the norm of reciprocity. We therefore assume that mortality salience should enhance compliance for a request when using the door-in-the-face technique – a persuasion strategy grounded in the norm of reciprocity. In a hypothetical scenario (Study 1), and in a field experiment (Study 2), applying the door-in-the-face technique enhanced compliance in the mortality salience condition compared to a control group.

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