Does social psychology persist over half a century? A direct replication of Cialdini et al.’s (1975) classic door-in-the-face technique

Oliver Genschow*, Mareike Westfal, Jan Crusius, Léon Bartosch, Kyra Isabel Feikes, Nina Pallasch, Mirella Wozniak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Many failed replications in social psychology have cast doubt on the validity of the field. Most of these replication attempts have focused on findings published from the 1990s on, ignoring a large body of older literature. As some scholars suggest that social psychological findings and theories are limited to a particular time, place, and population, we sought to test whether a classical social psychological finding that was published nearly half a century ago can be successfully replicated in another country on another continent. To this end, we directly replicated Cialdini et al.’s (1975) door-in-the-face (DITF) technique according to which people's likelihood to comply with a target request increases after having turned down a larger request. Thereby, we put the reciprocal concessions theory—the original process explanation of the DITF technique—to a critical test. Overall, compliance rates in our replication were similarly high as those Cialdini et al. (1975) found 45 years ago. That is, participants were more likely to comply with a target request after turning down an extreme request than participants who were exposed to the target request only or to a similarly small request before being exposed to the target request. These findings support the idea that reciprocity norms play a crucial role in DITF strategies. Moreover, the results suggest that at least some social psychological findings can transcend a particular time, place, and population. Further theoretical implications are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Probability
  • Psychology, Social/history
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


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