Mark Lepper, David Greene, and Richard Nisbett (1973) conducted research on this question. They divided children into three groups:
- Group 1 was the Expected group. The researchers showed the children the Good Drawing Certificate and asked if they wanted to draw in order to get the certificate.
- Group 2 was the Unexpected group. The researchers asked the children if they wanted to draw, but didn’t mention anything about a certificate. After the children spent time drawing, they received an unexpected drawing certificate.
- Group 3 was the Control group. The researchers asked the children if they wanted to draw, but didn’t mention a certificate and didn’t give them one.
The real part of the experiment came two weeks later. During playtime the drawing tools were put out in the room. The children weren’t asked anything about drawing; the tools were just put in the room and available. So what happened? Children in the Unexpected and Control groups spent the most time drawing. The children in Expected group, the ones to had received an expected reward, spent the least time drawing. Contingent rewards (rewards based on specific behavior that is spelled out ahead of time) resulted in less of the desired behavior if the reward was not repeated. Later the researchers went on to do studies like this, with adults as well as children, and found similar results.
Tuck your chin into your chest, and then lift your chin upward as far as possible. 6-10 repetitions.
Lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear toward your right shoulder. 6-10 repetitions.
In his research, Robert Cialdini (Cialdini 2006) stopped people on the st and asked them to chaperone a group of troubled youth on a one-day trin to the zoo. Only 17 percent of people said yes.
Some of the time he first asked people to spend two hours a week as a counselor for the youth for a minimum of two years (a larger request). In that case everyone said no. But if he then asked them to chaperone a group of troubled youth on a one-day trip to the zoo, 50 percent agreed. That’s nearly three times the 17 percent who agreed when they were only asked to chaperone. That’s concession working.
Cialdini also found an interesting side effect. Eighty-five percent of the people in the concession group actually showed up, compared with only 50 percent of the group that did not go through the concession process. Concession not only got people to say yes, it also increased their commitment to the action.