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The Sweet Smell of the Requester: Vanilla, Camphor, and Foot-in-the-Door

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Several researchers have shown that odors affect human behavior. However, odors have not been studied in the context of specific compliance without pressure. Specifically, the impact of the odor worn by a requester during the foot-in-the-door procedure has not been documented. To address this issue, an experiment was carried out in an ecological setting. Using the foot-in-the-door procedure, a well-known technique for increasing the likelihood that a person will comply with one's request, the requester was perfumed with vanilla, camphor, or nothing. The results show a strong effect of the foot-in-the-door technique when the requester was perfumed with vanilla and no effect of the procedure when the requester was perfumed with camphor. These results are incompatible with the main theoretical interpretations of foot-in-the-door phenomena: self-perception and commitment theories.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2012

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