Welcome to Influence, Psychology and Persuasion

This is session number 004 of Influence Psychology and Persuasion. In this show, I’ll be talking all about the commitment and consistency principle. This a Psychological principle details by Robert Cialdini and it has so many interesting caveats and discoveries. However, you need to be aware that this psychological process of remaining consistent and committed can sometimes lead you down the wrong path. Your own need to remain consistent is a troublemaker.


Typically, we value consistency and commitment. This is an important principle to be aware of, because you may be led down a consistent path which leads to either inconsistent results or unwanted outcomes.

It’s hard-wired in us to remain consistent. We like people who have integrity and follow through. Though this nobility is very persuasive.

The commitment and consistency principles have quite a close relationship to the Yes Set that we discovered in episode number two of this podcast. So if you want to know a little bit more about this or another angle, then visit the influence psychology persuasion podcast and check out episode number 2.

What is the commitment and consistency principle?

Put simply, we are more inclined to take action on something we have already started or to follow a path already trodden. Basically, If we make a commitment to something we will more than likely carry on or even do more of that thing.

“Gamblers are more likely to feel their chances increase the moment they actually place a bet.”

In one of the experiments carried out 1987, social scientist Anthony Greenwald approached potential voters on the eve of Election Day. He asked whether they would vote. And he also asked them why or why not, depending on their response. 100% of the people he asked said they would vote. On Election Day, 86.7% of those people asked went to the polls, compared to only 61.5% of those who were not asked. The people who publically made a commitment to voting on the previous day proved more likely to actually vote.

Another of the study carried out, called the foot in the door demonstrates this in another way. People were asked if they would display a large wooden sign in their front garden asking for people to drive more carefully. The result was a resounding no. However, more researchers asked if people would put a small postcard sign in their front window to which many agreed, but them a week or so later went back to those houses who had agreed to the small postcard and asked those if they would out a large sign in their garden. And lost agreed.

One a commitment is made. people want to remain consistent. Be very careful of this principle. If you’re asked to make a donation, hand out, use of your time…. there may be a bigger request to follow. Remember, you will be swayed by this bias so be aware and try as best as you can to make a judgement on every action without allowing previous choices to define you.