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Week 2: Fixed Action Patters and Reciprocity

by: Nishtha Kapuria

Week 2: Fixed Action Patters and Reciprocity CMS 332K

Marketplace > University of Texas at Austin > Communication Studies > CMS 332K > Week 2 Fixed Action Patters and Reciprocity
Nishtha Kapuria
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Here are the notes for week 2. They include everything discussed in lecture. Notes are color coded and the key is at the bottom :)
Theories of Persuasion
Dr. Donovan
Class Notes
theories, Theory, persuasion, Theories of Persuasion, communication, Studies, communication studies, notes, color coded, week 2, Lecture, fixed, action, patters, reciprocity
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nishtha Kapuria on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CMS 332K at University of Texas at Austin taught by Dr. Donovan in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 93 views. For similar materials see Theories of Persuasion in Communication Studies at University of Texas at Austin.


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Date Created: 01/31/16
CMS 332K Donovan Spring 2016 Week2: Fixed Action Patterns & Reciprocity • Fixed Action Patterns – ingrained, observable animal behaviors o Certain stimuli seem to flip switches in our brains and trigger predictable responses from us; responses are/were functional o Cialdini describes the “click, whirr” sequence § Predictable, seeable, instinctive responses to stimuli § Often not aware of the ‘switch’ § We can be persuaded without us realizing it and we can persuade others without them realizing it o Strong tendencies; patterns across a species o Study of fixed action patterns originates in the field of ethology – the study of animal behavior and species-specific behavior patterns (e.g. horses do this, humans do that) § Share some patterns with other species, but a lot ar e specific to certain species § Responses to certain stimuli are “hard-wired” – born with them; not necessarily learned (although some can be shaped and taught, but often tapping into tendencies that are already there and ready to be taken advantage of that under the right circumstances can be tapped into to allow for certain attitudes and behaviors) § Members of a species respond to triggers with predictable behaviors § Automatic responses are (or were) functional § One of the ways we know they are predictable patterns is that we see them unfold in a similar sequence with everyone § Ingrained because they are useful; functional • Functionality is about efficiency ; short cuts that save our overloaded brain time • Filter through response because it saves us energy, af fectively, cognitively, and behavior-wise o Examples § Newborn human infants will instinctively grip things (during cave man times, babies used to grab onto the mother’s back; how baby survived) § Infants have a sucking reflex (because of breast feeding; how they are nourished) § Facial expressions • Mirroring (we often mirror the expressions of whom we are talking to) § Yawning • Contagious • Suggests that we do not have to understand why someone is doing the behavior and might still have an instinctive response you cannot control • Interspecies (if you’re dog yawns, you will probably yawn) § Appearance and trustworthiness • Make quick judgments about people based on nonverbal cues • 2 stimuli with strong responses o E.g. ‘bigger eyes = more likely to be telling the truth’ o E.g. certain bone structures also make you seem more trustworthy o Cialdini’s Words of Caution § Some response during interactions are automatic § We can be more successful persuaders, and more resistant to persuasive attempts, by understanding FAP § “Do I really want to do this, or do I just feel pulled toward this for a reason I cannot explain?” § Understanding FAP helps us think through this • Sequential Message Requests o Influence that “proceeds in stages, each of which establishes the foundation for further changes in beliefs or behavior. Individuals slowly come to embrace new opinions, and actors often induce others to gradually comply with target requests” (Seibold, Cantrill, & Meyers, 1994) § I say something, you respond predictably, I say something else, you again respond predictably, and I use the sequence of predictable responses to get what I want • Perceptual contrast o When making decisions… § We compare our options (e.g. what classes do I want to take? Who do I want to date? Comparing and contrasting our choices; what are my beliefs/emotions about choice A v. choice B) § Available choice = reference objects; do not often ask ourselves to ‘how does this option compare to this certain, fixed criteria?’ § Especially true when they appear in close sequence • When offered in fairly quick sequence, our human brain feels those are the only 2 options § We use reference objects rather than fixed standards • Especially when referent objects occur or appear in close sequence § Aka “Everything is relative” • When offered a st imulus, think about that stimulus in reference to another stimulus offered before • E.g. Weather o 86 degrees is hot for northerners, but cool for southerners o Not comparing it to fixed standards, comparing it to a previous stimulus we have experienced • E.g. Taste o Some people find certain foods spicy and others do not o Comparing to something else we have tasted (don’t have the whole taste scale wired) • E.g. Heavy lifting o If you lift a heavy object, then a lighter one, you will likely underestimate the weight o f the second one. The second one feels SO light in comparison! (and vice versa) • Door-in-the-face (aka Rejection-then-Retreat) o Technique § Make a large request that will almost certainly be denied by target (who you are trying to persuade) § After being turned down, return with a more modest request (which was your ultimate goal anyway) o Doing this strategically; sense that people are going to want to do the easier thing (more modest request feels especially modest when following a high request) o Often successful o Examples § The satellite TV company • TV company: “Can I interest you in the platinum package?” • You: “Oh no, that’s outside my budget ” • TV: “Okay, why don’t we just do a deal on the gold package ?” • You: “Okay that seems reasonable ” o (Seems reasonable because we are comparing it to the stimuli we were just offered) § Kids asking parents for privileges • Want to stay out till 1AM, so first ask to stay out until 2AM (if they say yes to the first, awesome, and if they choose the second, you still get what you originally wanted) § “Will you donate $100 to the Red Cross? No? How about just $25?” § “Happy Days” script • Writers wrote a script with the word virgin 7 times (not allowed on air in the 80s) • Producers said NO! • Asked then to put it in once and they conceded o Complexities of DITF § Don’t want them to be close together (the second offer won’t seem better) or too far apart (won’t even want to entertain you, will seem unrealistic, will look like you did not do your research on what a realistic offer is) § The huge thing you ask for initially has to be believable § Some evidence that DITF actually increases the likelihood of carrying out the behavior BUT: • A 2012 meta-analysis found that DITF is more effective for verbal compliance than behavior compliance • Good at getting people to say yes (less reliably effective at actually getting people to do the behavior) • Might need to do another strategy besides DITF to get person to follow through § DITF is more successful getting people to volunteer for something than getting the to donate o Side effects of DITF § DITF seems to make people feel ownership for the agreement • Do not feel like they have been ‘lured’ into doing anything • Do not feel persuaded § DITF appears to increase people’s overall satisfaction with the exchange • Feel like they have had a chance to exercise right of refusal • Especially important in a business setting o How does DITF work? § Possible explanations: Perceptual contrast; Guilt; Self-presentation; Reciprocity (The best-known explanation & the one that Cialdin i discusses) • Perceptual contrast: you have created a sense of comparison for people; given them their referent object; creating circumstance where they believe second request is manageable by comparison (not putting it up to a fixed standard) • Guilt: target feels bad for saying no (not the strongest explanation) • Self-presentation: I want to seem a certain way to you; target wants to seem nice, cooperative, wants to be nice (not the strongest explanation) • Reciprocity: the best known explanation and the on e that Cialdini discusses • Norm of Reciprocity – A fundamental rule of human societies; Says that we ought to give back, in kind, what we receive o Persuaders will often offer what seem like “freebies,” which often make us feel obligated to them § When someone does something for you, you are supposed to reciprocate with something in kind (equal level of value, level of investment, level of caring, etc.) § You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours § Does not relate only to persuasion • Some fixed action patters boil down to reciprocity o E.g. when introducing yourself to someone, tend to reciprocate gestures and facial expressions § Know it is a powerful norm, because it feels weird when someone breaks this rule • Reciprocate social niceties • Seems odd when someone deviate s or violates it § Compliance professionals create senses of obligations; people want to contribute because they want there to be a give and take so they do not seem like a free loader o Examples § When vendors give out free samples t o create a sense of obligation to get you to stay in the store, spend more money there, buy other stuff, feel like you owe them something for the freebie § Nonprofit organizations end address labels, cards, wrapping paper • Keeping themselves accessible to y ou; you remember them every time you send mail • Creating sense of obligation (they took the time and money to send this, I want to donate again) § Store greeters: one study found that when a friendly greeter welcomed people to an electronics store, they spe nt more money • These people are nice, I want to give them my business § Giving consumers a small gift (e.g. a 50c key chain) upon entering a drugstore resulted in a significant increase (16.8%) in purchases • Reciprocity can engender buying behavior § Giving out things like free t-shirts, food, etc. on a college campus in exchange for their contact information, etc. § Responsible consumption…and/or greenwasing? • Companies will use advertising to suggest to consumers they are dong something good for the environmen t (e.g. Dasani bottles paid from plant parts o Feel like we are doing something good, they are helping the environment, we want to buy their water o But environmentalists know using a plastic bottle is still bad) § When you give someone something, you have not lost it because you’ll get it back o Ethical dilemmas § What is wrong with a little mutual back -scratching? • Get sucked too far in, feel obligated/forced to do something you would otherwise not do • Pushed or pulled in given behavioral direction • Even the most intelligent people can get trapped § Examples: • Drug companies spend lots of money on “gifts” for doctors o Say it is a non-obligation gift, but physicians will still end up thinking of that pharmacy when it comes time to buy medicine • Reporters who are nicer to the president get more access, and presidents who are nice to reporters get better coverage • UT employees are prohibited from accepting cash or gift certificates o Could be conflict of interest down the line o Reciprocity and DITF § DITF effects are more likely when it is the same person making both requests • Person 1 asks big request – rejected • Person 2 asks smaller request – rejected • Something more than just perceptual contrast § The persuader concedes a bit and so do we • We want to compromise • Persuader is giving something up, so we feel like we should as well • When persuaders make things easier for us, we feel an obligation to work with them too • Becomes reciprocity because we want to reciprocate in kind § (But it’s difficult to tell if someone is sinc ere) – ethical issue • Inclined to work with someone who is willing to concede a little • People can plan to use DITF o Norm of Reciprocity § Cialdini’s recommendation : accept offers in good faith, but be prepared to re-assess the situation and release yourself from feelings of obligation • Do no feel like you HAVE to repay obligation if you really do not want to • Am I doing this because I want to or do I feel obligated? • Just be aware that you might be triggered from reciprocity and protect yourself when it is a ppropriate o Empirical Example § Burger et al. (1997). Effects of time on the norm of reciprocity. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 19, 91-100. § RQ: What are some parameters (limits) of the norm of reciprocity ? • Reciprocity is pretty much a given, people accept it as a real thing • Where does it lose its power ? Where is it no longer a trigger? § Design: experiment § Confederate asked participant for a favor (deliver an envelope to campus building) § Conditions: • 1 – Bought a coke, asked 5 minutes later o Most likely to say yes because norm of obligation from reciprocity feels more “fresh” and relevant to us o 94% of people agreed • 2 – Bought a coke, asked 1 week later o 76% agreed • 3 – No Coke, asked 5 minutes later o Only 66% agreed • (All participants accepted the Coke) § Findings: • In the 5 minutes later conditions: more people agreed when they were given a Coke (94% to 66%) • Comparing 5 minutes later to 1 week later, 94 % to 76% § Conclusions: • Appears to be a time limit on the sense of obligation prompted by the norm of reciprocity • But – the norm is still powerful! (76% of people still agreed) o Remembered that confederate was nice and wants to be nice in return o Examples: NPR report – Give and Take: How the Rule of Reciprocity Binds Us § 1974; sociologist, Kunz • Sent out 600 Holiday greetings to complete strangers, and got 200 responses (some were even 3-4 pages long) • People are trained from birth, “ You must not take without giving in return.” • People do not want to deviate from such a powerful, social norm for fear of being labeled negatively • Kept getting cards for 15 years § Hare Krishna religion • Struggled financially • Started going to airports and would give people small gifts and ask for donations • People begrudgingly give them a dollar or 2 and walk away angry, but they still gave because of the rule of reciprocation § Restaurant tipping • When a waiter does not put the candy on the bill tray, people tip him/her what he deserves • Adding the candy makes the tip increase by 3.3% § Pharmaceutical companies • Will give gifts to pres cription writing gifts to doctors • Say it is non-obligatory and seems innocent enough, but doctors then become inclined towards those pharmacies when it comes times to buy medicine o In class activity example: Companies use free estimates to earn business (e .g. mechanic gives you a complimentary assessment of how much it would cost to fix your car) o Tipping and Reciprocity § Servers get bigger tips if they… • Compliment their customers • Use their names • Squat down and to eye level • Women get bigger tips if they we ar make up § Empirical Example • Setier, J.S., & Weger, H. (2014). The principle of reciprocity in hospitality contexts: The relationship between tipping behavior and food server’ approaches to handling leftovers. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research. • Design: experiment • Food servers (communication students!) rolled a die to randomly determine how to handle customers’ leftovers and create conditions o 1 = brought boxes o 2 = packaged food for them in the kitchen o 3 = packaged food and wrote date and said, “ I’ve put the date on the box so you can keep track of how fresh your food is.” o 4 = packaged food and asked customer’s name, wrote on the box, said, “I’ll put your name on the box so you can easily see who it belongs to.” o 5 = packaged food + date + name o 6 = roll again • Findings: (from highest tips to lowest) o 4 (about 21%) o 2 (about 20%) o 5 (about 19%) o 3 (17 – 18%) o 1 (16 – 17%) • Conclusion o People liked having their names on it because it feels personalized o Adding the date of freshness seem to have a neg ative connotation § “You don’t have to tell me how long I can eat this food. Do you think I’m a gross person who would eat rotten food?” • Notes Key: XXX Main topic/subject/section XXX Definition XXX Important point XXX List XXX Example


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