A robust finding in compliance-seeking message effects research is that providing an unsolicited favor to a target before making a direct request for compliance is more effective than a direct request alone. Explaining this effect, however, has proven a more elusive goal. Most existing studies either do not examine potential mediators of the favor-compliance relationship or restrict their focus to one or two potential mediators. In this study, the authors extend compliance research by testing five potential explanations for the favor-compliance relationship and examine the relationship in an untested context, a cross-sex date request. We also examine the impact of another important predictor of compliance, socioeconomic status (SES). Findings suggest that favor and SES interact to affect compliance with a date request and that the positive affective mechanisms of gratitude, liking, and physical attraction best explain these effects. Implications for understanding human reciprocal behavior and its explanatory mechanisms are discussed.
- Date requests
- Socioeconomic status