The same piece of a jigsaw held in the left and right hands
Grasping a solution

Framing effects: Part 2

The Framing Effect: The classic findings

The classic finding is that the majority decide on Program A in the Group 1 scenario and Program D in the Group 2 scenario.

Well, you might ask what’s the problem with that? The answer is that the two scenarios are identical; they are just described differently. In this regard, the issue is to do with being able to reason in a consistent fashion – surely if the same problem is being repeatedly tested then a consistent reasoner would provide the same answer on both occasions? The fact that this does not tend to occur shows that the manner in which claims and evidence are presented profoundly influence how we reason about the world.

The basic finding is that people are much less likely to take a risky gamble when they are guaranteed a gain (as in Group 1) than they are to take a risky gamble when they are guaranteed a loss (as in Group 2). This is despite the fact that the actual possible outcomes are the same in both cases.

Next we go onto test the replicability of this pattern in our second class exercise.

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Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: An Experimental Science

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