Can Narratives Increase Compliance?:An Experiment of Vicarious Foot-in-the-Door

Liyuan Wang*, Sheila T. Murphy, Nathan Walter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current study assessed whether vicariously experiencing story characters granting a small favor can induce similar intentions from its audiences. Acting upon the perspectives of story characters, audiences may agree to a subsequent larger request to the same cause, as in the case of vicarious foot-in-the-door (VFITD). Study 1 found that a VFITD story was more effective in eliciting prosocial intentions than a non-VFITD story and a non-narrative message. That is, the VFITD condition generated greater intentions to volunteer in a series of activities, with attitudes mediating this process. Study 2 replicated this result. It also showed that when a VFITD story can generate sufficient levels of identification, it is more effective than a non-VFITD narrative in eliciting prosocial intentions. Implications of this study are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-215
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • compliance gaining
  • narrative persuasion
  • vicarious foot-in-the-door

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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