Counteracting the boomerang: The effects of choice on compliance to threats and promises

Madeline E. Heilman, Katherine A. Garner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

96 high school girls participated in an experiment designed to test the hypothesis that previously observed differences in compliance rates to threats and promises are based on the inherent restrictiveness of threats and their curtailment of the recipient's autonomy and freedom of choice. Ss received an influence message, presumably written by a coworker, which was a threat or a promise phrased in either a prescriptive or proscriptive form. In addition, the message indicated that the S would or would not be able to choose among alternative ways of complying. Results show that (a) threats produced more compliance when the option to choose among alternative compliance modes was openly extended than when it was not, and (b) differences in compliance rates to threats and promises were far greater when choice options were not made available than when they were made available. No differences in compliance emerged between prescriptive and proscriptive influence attempts-whether threat or promise. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1975

Keywords

  • curtailment of recipient's autonomy &
  • freedom of choice, compliance to threats &
  • promises, female high school students
  • threat restrictiveness &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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