Is it a game? Evidence for social influence in the virtual world

Paul W. Eastwick*, Wendi L. Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Online virtual worlds promise an escape from mundane everyday environments and exempt users from the normal laws of time, space, and gravity. However, the laws of social influence may not be as easily dodged. In the virtual world of we tested two robust real-world compliance tactics (foot-in-the-door, door-in-the-face) with avatar "race" as a moderator. Results revealed success for both techniques, suggesting that avatars are sensitive to influence tactics targeting both self-perception and reciprocity norms. Additionally, the race of the avatar requesting help impacted the success of the door-in-the-face compliance technique, raising the specter that real-world racial biases may also emerge in virtual environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Influence
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Door in the face
  • Foot in the door
  • Race
  • Social influence
  • Virtual world

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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