The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo  

Resisting Influence

Prepared by Philip Zimbardo and Cindy X. Wang

Cialdini’s Principles of Social Influence

Reciprocity [Context: Obligation]

The Basics

  • The rule of reciprocity requires that one person try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided

  • Supports the giving of favors since repayment is expected from the recipient

  • Sense of future obligation makes it possible to develop continuing relationships, transactions, and exchanges in society

  • Members of society are trained from childhood to abide by the reciprocity rule or suffer social disapproval

How It’s Exploited
  • Rule can apply to uninvited exchanges – when exploited, others can reduce our ability to freely decide, and thus, lead us to react automatically

  • Rule can spur unequal exchanges – individuals may agree to perform a substantially larger favor in return for an initial, small one

  • Principle also applies to making concessions – you may reciprocate a concession if the other party seems to make one

  • Ex. "Door-in-the-face" – relies on persuader making an outrageous, extreme request first, then conceding to a comparatively small request (one desired all along) that will likely be accepted because it appears to make a concession

  • Also increases the likelihood person will agree to future requests

Best Defense
    Reject initial offers, favors, concessions; redefine them as tricks and no longer feel obligated to respond reciprocally, unless you know the other person and can trust that the initial favor is given meaningfully.

©2006-2016, Philip G. Zimbardo

About the Book

About the Movie

About Phil Zimbardo

Stanford Prison Experiment

Celebrating Heroism

Resisting Influence


Other Links and Information

Jesus and Lucifer on Social Justice
By Rev. Jennifer Brooks
I was intrigued by television personality Glenn Beck's advice that Christians "run as fast as you can" from a church that has "social justice" on its website. Beck apparently sees "social justice" as something new, springing from Marxism and not only irrelevant but harmful to Christianity. Thinking about Beck’s advice, I asked myself, WWJD, "What Would...