When do people follow directions or comply with a request, and when do they not? Which factors influence their decision? We did an experiment on the San Francisco waterfront to find out.
What's going on?
We're all subject to social pressure by others, whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes we go along with the crowd, even though no one asked us to do it. At other times, we comply with direct requests—for example, when someone asks us to turn down the radio. At yet other times, we submit to a demand by an authority figure. When the requests or demands are silly, like the ones in this video, the results can be humorous. Although yielding to the influence of others is part of our social nature, history is full of examples of how dangerous it can be, and we should be mindful of who or what we are surrendering to.
Robert B. Cialdini (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. (book)
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1713638. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.