Once Bitten, Twice Shy: The Effect of a Past Refusal on Expectations of Future Compliance
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Four studies examined help-seekers’ beliefs about how past refusals affect future compliance. In Study 1, help-seekers were more likely than potential helpers to believe that a previous refusal would lead a potential helper to deny a subsequent request of similar size. Study 2 replicated this effect and found that help-seekers underestimated the actual compliance rate of potential helpers who had previously refused to help. Studies 3 and 4 explain this asymmetry. Whereas potential helpers’ willingness to comply with a subsequent request stems from the discomfort of rejecting others not once, but twice, help-seekers rely on dispositional attributions of helpfulness to estimate the likelihood of hearing “yes” from someone who has previously told them "no".
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compliance; helping behavior; sequential requests; perspective taking
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Required Publisher Statement: © SAGE. Final version published as: Newark, D. A., Flynn, F. J., Bohns, V. K. (2014). Once bitten, twice shy: The effect of a past refusal on expectations of future compliance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(2), 218-225. doi: 10.1177/1948550613490967 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.