The Framing Effect – How Presentation Can Change Our Minds

Framing Effect

Framing Effect – Definition

The framing effect is a form of cognitive bias that affects decision-making. You can ask a question or present facts and data differently with the framing effect. For example, if surgery has 20% risks, you can frame this information as “80%-risk free” or “20% risk.” The framing effect will lead people to pick the first option because it seems better than the first. The first one seems more negative and may scare a lot of people. It causes them to think about the worst outcomes immediately. Most people lean towards the option that seems positive, even if the fact is the same.

In a nutshell, the framing effect is where you are presented with two or more options with the same outcome. The point of different wording or framing appeals to your biases.

The Prospect Theory

Understanding the prospect theory is the key to grasping the framing effect. The prospect theory explains how people evaluate their losses and get insight in an asymmetric form. According to the founders of the theory, Amos Tvarsky, and Daniel Kahneman, people are more influenced by the possibility of a loss than an equivalent gain. The theory developers used the framing effect to explain and prove their theory. They conducted experiments that presented participants with the same questions or options framed differently. The experiment’s result demonstrated that people make decisions based on the substance of the information and how it is framed. Therefore, the prospect theory is the foundation of the graming effect.

Forms of Framing Effect

The framing effect comes in four forms. They are:

The Auditory Frame

This type is primarily about how a fact or a question is asked. You can ask a question by shouting, using a deep, soft, or aggressive tone. Therefore, instead of presenting a fact or question in two ways, you can vocalize the same words in different tones.

For instance, as a doctor, you can present a fact in a shy and unsure tone like, “she, sss-he will be okay?!” or present it in a firm and confident tone “she Will be okay!” The first presentation sounds like a fact framed as a question. It also sounds like the speaker is unsure. Therefore, it will create worry in the listener. On the other hand, the second one sounds confident. Therefore, the listener will take it more positively and believe it. These are the same words spoken differently.

In the auditory framing effect, voice inflexion is critical. It may be equally or more important than the content of the message. The speed, volume, and word enunciation also matter. For instance, asking a question quickly may come across as aggressive. The volume also Also, enunciating a specific word in a sentence may communicate to the listener that they should focus more on the word than the rest of the sentence.

Visual Framing

This form focuses on elements like colour, imagery, font type and size, and body language. It applies in written and pictured content.


The colour used to present written information affects how the data is perceived. For instance, writing a note in red makes it look urgent. On the other hand, pink has a feminine appeal.

For example, in marketing, presenting an image of shirts with pink as the background immediately causes viewers to associate the products with females. Presenting the same image in blue gives it a male appeal. In a nutshell, the colour will influence the marketing power and the type of audience you attract.


The type of images you use will influence how people perceive and receive your information. Using appealing images will get more people to read your content than vice versa. The images you use will also affect the type of audience you attract. Some images appeal to children and others to adults.

Font type and colour

The fonts you choose to present facts and information can affect how the readers or recipients feel and how the information is perceived. You can put out a statement and frame it in different font styles and sizes. This will trigger different responses despite the message being the same.

For instance, most people will not bother reading it if you use small font sizes. On the other hand, more people will read your content if you use larger and simple font sizes and styles, respectively.

Body language

When presenting information or talking to a person or group, your body language will influence how the message is received. Body language includes elements like demeanour, facial expressions, and movements. For instance, if you attend a conference where the speaker talks while facing away from the audience or looking at the floor, you will not receive the information as positively as one where the speaker is confident and engaging, even if the message is the same. The speaker’s body language will influence your decision and what you do with the information.

The Value Framing Effect

The value frame is where psychological techniques are applied to make you feel like you are getting a better deal than you are. For example, when promoters use high values, clients assume it is a better deal. For instance, if you have a product worth 1000 dollars and want to sell it at 750 dollars. You can present the deal as “25% off” or “250 dollars off.” People will react better to the second one than the first one because of the higher value. However, the message is the same.

Marketers use the frame value to also play with the client’s psyche. For instance, 25% off means 250 dollars off. On the other hand, 20% off means 200 dollars off. Presenting the second option as 200 dollars off and the first one as 25% off will prompt people to go for the second because of the higher value. However, the first one is better.

The Positive and Negative Framing Effect

The easiest way to explain this phenomenon is using the popular example “glass half full or half empty.” Using phrases like “Don’t miss out” and “Time is running out” also falls in this category of framing. The second statement will prompt people to take faster action than the first one.

In simpler terms, negative framing is more effective if you want people to take action. On the other hand, positive framing is great for convincing or encouraging people.

Framing Effect – In a Nutshell

The framing effect is when people make decisions based on how information is presented. The framing effect includes elements like visual framing, auditory frames, value, and negative or positive frames. The phenomenon was used in the early 1980s by Tvarsky and Kahneman to prove the prospect theory. The framing effect is proof that presentation can influence your perception and decisions. It can change your minds.

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