Better Think Before Agreeing Twice. Mere Agreement: A Similarity-Based Persuasion Mechanism

40 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2008 Last revised: 5 Jan 2010

See all articles by Mario Pandelaere

Mario Pandelaere

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL)

Barbara Briers

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management

Siegfried Dewitte

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB)

Luk Warlop

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB); BI Norwegian Business School

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

The present 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, but selected to induce agreement. We label this effect the ‘mere agreement effect’, and present a two-step similarity-based mechanism to explain it. 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. We also validate the practical relevance of the mere agreement persuasion technique in a field study. We discuss how the mere agreement effect can be broadly used as a tool to increase cooperation and be readily implemented in marketing interactions.

Keywords: mere agreement, similarity, compliance, helpfulness, social influence

Suggested Citation

Pandelaere, Mario and Briers, Barbara and Dewitte, Siegfried and Warlop, Luk, Better Think Before Agreeing Twice. Mere Agreement: A Similarity-Based Persuasion Mechanism (January 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1148126 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1148126

Mario Pandelaere (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Barbara Briers

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Siegfried Dewitte

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Luk Warlop

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

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