The effects of altercasting and counterattitudinal behavior on compliance: A lost letter technique investigation

Monique Mitchell Turner, John A. Banas, Stephen A. Rains, Su Ahn Jang, Jessica L. Moore, Dan Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

A field experiment was conducted to test the effectiveness of altercasting (Weinstein & Dutschberger, 1963) as a compliance-gaining technique. The central hypothesis predicts that positive altercasting messages should produce greater compliance than direct requests. Following Milgram's (1969) lost letter technique, 2,400 ostensibly "lost" letters were placed on car windshields throughout a metropolitan area along with a business card containing a handwritten altercasting or direct request message to mail the letter. The frequency of letters returned was used as a primary measure of compliance. The results do not demonstrate the effectiveness of altercasting as a compliance-gaining technique; on the contrary, they indicate that negative altercasting significantly reduces compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Reports
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Altercasting
  • Compliance
  • Milgram

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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