Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 596–602 | Cite as

What a speaker’s choice of frame reveals: Reference points, frame selection, and framing effects

Article

Abstract

Framing effects are well established: Listeners’ preferences depend on how outcomes are described to them, or framed. Less well understood is what determines how speakers choose frames. Two experiments revealed that reference points systematically influenced speakers’ choices between logically equivalent frames. For example, speakers tended to describe a 4-ounce cup filled to the 2-ounce line as half full if it was previously empty but described it as half empty if it was previously full. Similar results were found when speakers could describe the outcome of a medical treatment in terms of either mortality or survival (e.g., 25% die vs. 75% survive). Two additional experiments showed that listeners made accurate inferences about speakers’ reference points on the basis of the selected frame (e.g., if a speaker described a cup as half empty, listeners inferred that the cup used to be full). Taken together, the data suggest that frames reliably convey implicit information in addition to their explicit content, which helps explain why framing effects are so robust.

References

  1. Fischhoff, B. (1983). Predicting frames.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,9, 103–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Frisch, D. (1993). Reasons for framing effects.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,54, 399–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hilton, D. J. (1995). The social context of reasoning: Conversational inference and rational judgment.Psychological Bulletin,118, 248–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kahneman, D., &Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk.Econometrica,47, 263–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kahneman, D., &Tversky, A. (1984). Choices, values, and frames.American Psychologist,39, 341–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kühberger, A. (1998). The influence of framing on risky decisions: A meta-analysis.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,75, 23–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Levin, I. P., &Gaeth, G. J. (1988). How consumers are affected by the framing of attribute information before and after consuming the product.Journal of Consumer Research,15, 374–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Levin, I. P., Schneider, S. L., &Gaeth, G. J. (1998). All frames are not created equal: A typology and critical analysis of framing effects.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,76, 149–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Levin, I. P., Schnittjer, S. K., &Thee, S. L. (1988). Information framing effects in social and personal decisions.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,24, 520–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Marteau, T. M. (1989). Framing of information: Its influence upon decisions of doctors and patients.British Journal of Social Psychology,28, 89–94.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. McKenzie, C. R. M., Ferreira, V. S., Mikkelsen, L. A., McDermott, K. J., &Skrable, R. P. (2001). Do conditional hypotheses target rare events?Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes,85, 291–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McKenzie, C. R. M., &Mikkelsen, L. A. (2000). The psychological side of Hempel’s paradox of confirmation.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,7, 360–366.Google Scholar
  13. McKenzie, C. R. M., & Mikkelsen, L. A. (in press). A Bayesian view of covariation assessment.Cognitive Psychology.Google Scholar
  14. McNeil, B. J., Pauker, S. G., Sox, H. C., Jr., &Tversky, A. (1982). On the elicitation of preferences for alternative therapies.New England Journal of Medicine,306, 1259–1262.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Meyerowitz, B. E., &Chaiken, S. (1987). The effect of message framing on breast self-examination attitudes, intentions, and behavior.Journal of Personality & Social Psychology,52, 500–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Moxey, L. M., &Sanford, A. J. (2000). Communicating quantities: A review of psycholinguistic evidence of how expressions determine perspectives.Applied Cognitive Psychology,14, 237–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sanford, A. J., Fay, N., Stewart, A., &Moxey, L. (2002). Perspective in statements of quantity, with implications for consumer psychology.Psychological Science,13, 130–134.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Schneider, S. L. (1992). Framing and conflict: Aspiration level contingency, the status quo, and current theories of risky choice.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,18, 1040–1057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Schwarz, N. (1996).Cognition and communication: Judgmental biases, research methods, and the logic of conversation. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Thaler, R. (1980). Toward a positive theory of consumer choice.Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,1, 9–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tversky, A., &Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice.Science,211, 453–458.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Tversky, A., &Kahneman, D. (1986). Rational choice and the framing of decisions.Journal of Business,59, S251-S278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wilson, D. K., Kaplan, R. M., &Schneiderman, L. J. (1987). Framing of decisions and selections of alternatives in health care.Social Behaviour,2, 51–59.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa Jolla
  2. 2.UCSD Cognitive Science Department 0515La Jolla

Personalised recommendations