Social Psychology

Student Learning Program

Chapter 10: The norm of commitment: Keeping your promises (pp. 365369)

Ask Yourself?

In this topic

  1. The Low-Ball Technique (p. 366)
  2. Long-Term Consequences of Commitment (pp. 367369)
The Low-Ball Technique

The low-ball technique is used when an influencer secures an agreement with a request, but then increases the size of that request by revealing hidden costs.

Case study: The low-ball technique

Research activity: The low-ball technique

Long-Term Consequences of Commitment

The norm of social commitment requires us to stand by agreements and fulfill our obligations.

People stick by their commitments for several reasons.

They feel an obligation to fulfill their social commitments.

Such commitments help us to maintain a positive view of ourselves, and reduce cognitive dissonance.

The original commitment is strengthened by the addition of supportive new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (cognitive bolstering).

So what does this mean?

The norm of social commitment requires us to keep our promises. This norm is used in the low-ball technique, which relies on the fact that people usually stick to the deal even though it has changed for the worse. The reason people stick to their commitment is that they want to fulfill social commitments and maintain a positive self-image. People strengthen their original commitment by the addition of supportive new thoughts and feelings (cognitive bolstering).

Next topic

The norm of obedience: Submitting to authority

In this chapter

  1. Chapter 10 introduction
  2. Norms: Effective guides for social behavior
  3. The norm of reciprocity: Treating others as they treat you
  4. The norm of commitment: Keeping your promises
  5. The norm of obedience: Submitting to authority
  6. Rebellion and resistance: Fighting back
  7. Putting it all together: Multiple guides for behavior
  8. Chapter overview (PDF)
  9. Fill-in-the-blanks
  10. Multiple-choice questions