Imagine being asked to place a large, ugly, obtrusive billboard with the wording “DRIVE CAREFULLY” on your front lawn. When a researcher, posing as a volunteer, made precisely this request, numerous residents in a Californian neighborhood flatly declined.1 That they declined is hardly surprising, especially since they were shown a picture of the billboard almost completely obscuring the view of another house. What is surprising, however, is that fully 76% of another group of residents in this study agreed to have the sign placed on their lawn. Why would over three-fourths of one group agree, while virtually everyone in the other group sensibly declined? The answer lies in something that happened to the second group prior to this outlandish request being made. The residents who agreed in droves to have this aberration placed on their lawn were previously asked if they would display in the windows of their cars…

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