Think Before Agreeing Twice
This research paper shows that people’s compliance with a request can be substantially increased if the requester first gets them to agree with a series of statements unrelated to the request, yet selected to induce agreement (mere agreement effect). Asking someone something as simple as ‘Are you a nice person?’ can increase your ability to persuade.
Across five studies, we show that induced mere agreement subtly causes respondents to view the presenter of the statements as similar to themselves, which in turn increases compliance with a request from that same person. We support the similarity explanation by showing that the effect of agreement on compliance is suppressed when agreement is induced to indicate dissimilarity with the interviewer, when the request is made by some other person, and when the artificially high level of agreement is made salient.
Simple statements we’d all agree with
We propose that the mere agreement technique can be highly effective because (1) initial agreement and subsequent compliance do not need to be related for the effect to occur, and (2) the initial agreement can be easily induced by statements virtually anyone would agree with.
we show that this mere agreement effect is due to an increased feeling of similarity with the requester after initial agreement with him/her. This increased similarity leads to increased compliance with any request.