The Induction of Sustained Recycling Behavior Through the Foot-in-the-Door Technique

Jack Arbuthnot
Richard Tedeschi
Marc Wayner
James Turner
Stuart Kressel
Robert Rush

DOI: 10.2190/BP8D-04W5-7FJ7-C5J5


Based on Bern's self-perception theory, the "foot-in-the-door" technique was utilized to induce the pro-environmental behavior of recycling in a sample with no prior history of such behavior. The sample consisted of 291 citizens of a small city chosen at random from non-student neighborhoods. Experimental conditions consisted of all permutations of three types of prior requests. Compliance with the final request (recycling), as assessed one to two months later and in an 18-month follow-up, was significantly higher for conditions eliciting compliance with multiple prior requests which required subject-originated actions, and particularly for compliance with a prior request high in task similarity with the final request. The results were discussed in terms of implications for induction of enduring subject-originated behavioral compliance.

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