What does framing mean
This article is about framing. This is a way of presenting a text in a certain way, for example to persuade the reader to make a choice for something. Emphasize the desired consequences of making that choice or the undesirable consequences of not making that choice. For example, you can say: ‘insufficient exercise increases the risk of cardiovascular disease’ or ‘sufficient exercise makes you feel much fitter and it is very good for your health’. The influence that framing has on people’s choice behavior is called the framing effect.
What is Framing?
Framing is a way of displaying a text that is used, among other things, with texts that must convince the reader to make a choice for a certain behavior, for example buying something or stopping something. You can then choose to emphasize the desirable consequences (profit) of the choice of the reader you want or, on the contrary, the undesirable consequences (the loss) of the undesired choice of the reader.
‘If you participate in the state lottery you have a chance of winning the top prize of 13 million’.
“If you don’t participate in the state lottery, you will miss the chance to win the top prize of 13 million.”
Which way of displaying is most effective?
There is no ready-made answer to this. Research has shown that readers react differently to profit than to loss. Kahneman and Tversky (1984) conducted the following study among subjects. They asked them to choose between two prevention programs for an Asian disease.
- Program A. If this is carried out, 200 people will be saved.
- Program B. When this is done, there is a 1 in 3 chance that 600 people will be saved and a 2 in 3 chance that no one will be saved.
The majority of the subjects chose A.
Then they described the two programs differently and let the same subjects choose:
- Program A. If this is carried out, 400 people will die.
- Program B. When this is done there is a 1 in 3 chance that no one will die and a 2 in 3 chance that 600 people will die.
The majority of the subjects chose B.
As an explanation for this difference, Kahneman and Tversky indicated that when people have to choose between certain undesirable consequences and uncertain desired consequences, they are apparently more likely to choose the uncertain desired consequences. However, if people have to choose between the certain desired consequences and the uncertain unwanted consequences, they are more likely to choose the certain desired consequences. Researchers found that reporting loss had more of an effect on people’s choice than reporting profit. For example, a study by Meyerowitz and Chaiken (1987) showed that women were more likely to self-examine breast cancer as a result of a brochure that emphasized the undesirable consequences than a brochure that emphasized the desired consequences. Making a choice earlier when the emphasis is placed on loss seems to be especially the case when people feel involved in the subject and look critically at the arguments for the choice. For example, health is a topic that most people feel very involved in. Not everyone feels that involved when buying a car.
How big should the emphasis be on the profit or loss?
You can think: the more I emphasize the profit or loss, the sooner I convince the reader to do or not do something. The greater the fear of undesirable consequences, the more inclined the reader will be to make the desired choice. However, the undesirable consequences must be considered likely by the reader. What also plays a role is when they set in. Researchers found that undesirable consequences in the short term played a greater role in the choice than undesirable consequences in the longer term.