Is that all?: exploring the cognitive and affective processes underpinnings of the "that's-not-all" technique

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Banas, John Andrew

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From late night television commercials to donation-soliciting telemarketers, the prevalence of compliance-gaining messages is ubiquitous in our society. Among the messages examined by scholars is the “that’s-not-all” (TNA) technique, in which an offer is improved before the message receiver has an opportunity to respond. Although the TNA procedure has been the subject of several experiments, there is a dearth of research examining why the technique works and why it does not. The purpose of this dissertation is to systematically investigate the cognitive processes mediating the effectiveness of the TNA procedure as well as boundary conditions for its use. Two studies were conducted on the TNA procedure, the first in a telemarketing context and the second in a television commercial context. In both studies, the prosocialness of the organization, the presence of a negotiation message element, and the size of the TNA request were manipulated as independent variables. The dependent measures were compliance and cognitive and affective responses to the messages. Four theoretical explanations were tested against one another: perceptual contrast, reciprocal concessions, reverse TNA effect, and anticipated guilt. The results of the two studies were generally similar. The perceptual contrast explanation was most consistent with the compliance results. The results also indicated that anticipated guilt increases the effectiveness of the TNA technique. The results indicate the need for further examination of the cognitive and affective responses to compliance-gaining tactics. The dissertation concludes by outlining future directions of research on the TNA procedure.