One of my Tsinghua students, a freshman, has been getting up early Saturday mornings to go to nearby Beijing University to attend a 4-hour intro psych class for graduate students. “What does the teacher talk about?” I asked. He showed me his notes. “The Door-in-the-Face Effect” was the heading of a little graph he’d drawn. “What’s that?” I asked. “If you get someone to help you in a little way, they’re more likely to help you in a big way later,” he said. I knew that result. It’s called the foot-in-the-door effect. “Your teacher made a mistake,” I said.
I was wrong. There is a door-in-the-face effect very similar to the foot-in-the-door effect. The door-in-the-face effect is after you make a big request that is turned down, you are more likely to get agreement to a small request.