Low-Balling Technique in Psychology: Definition & Overview

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Primary Deviance: Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:16 Example
  • 0:52 Research Study
  • 1:33 Why Low-Balling Is Effective
  • 1:56 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Have you ever agreed to purchase an item at an attractive price, only to end of paying much more for it than you initially intended? Learn more about the low-balling technique from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.


The low-balling technique is a persuasion tactic in which an item is initially offered at a lower price than one expects in order to get the buyer to commit; then, the price is suddenly increased. The low-balling technique is commonly used among salesmen and advertisers.


Susan goes to her local car dealership to buy a car. She is initially offered a new SUV for $14,000. She believes that this is a steal, so she agrees to buy it. The sales manager goes into his office to gather the paperwork. When he comes back, he informs Susan that the SUV is actually $16,000, not $14,000 as she was told. The increase in price is due to several upgrades that the car company has installed, including tinted windows, OnStar navigation, and satellite radio. Susan is upset with the price increase, but agrees to pay it. This is an example of the low-balling technique.

Research Study

The low-balling technique was first demonstrated by Robert Cialdini and colleagues in the 1970s. In this study, one group of people was told up front that the experiment would start at 7 AM. Another group was not told the starting time until after they had already agreed to participate in the experiment. Only 24% of the individuals who were told the time upfront were actually willing to participate, compared to 56% of the individuals who agreed to participate before they knew the time. Over 53% of the individuals who agreed to participate before knowing the time actually showed up. Cialdini and colleagues concluded that this experiment proved the effectiveness of the low-balling technique.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account