Framing effect (bias in research)

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The framing effect is an example of cognitive bias, in which people react to a particular choice in different ways depending on whether it is presented as a loss or as a gain.

The following from Wikipedia:

Framing effect (psychology)

People tend to avoid risk when a positive frame is presented but seek risks when a negative frame is presented. Gain and loss are defined in the scenario as descriptions of outcomes (e.g. lives lost or saved, disease patients treated and not treated, lives saved and lost during accidents, etc.).

Prospect theory shows that a loss is more significant than the equivalent gain, that a sure gain (certainty effect and pseudocertainty effect) is favored over a probabilistic gain, and that a probabilistic loss is preferred to a definite loss. One of the dangers of framing effects is that people are often provided with options within the context of only one of the two frames.

The concept helps to develop an understanding of frame analysis within social movements, and also in the formation of political opinion where spin plays a large role in political opinion polls that are framed to encourage a response beneficial to the organization that has commissioned the poll. It has been suggested that the use of the technique is discrediting political polls themselves. The effect reduces, or even eliminates, if ample, credible information is provided to people.

Framing (social sciences)

In the social sciences, framing comprises a set of concepts and theoretical perspectives on how individuals, groups, and societies organize, perceive, and communicate about reality. Framing involves the social construction of a social phenomenon - by mass media sources, political or social movements, political leaders, or other actors and organizations. It is an inevitable process of selective influence over the individual's perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases. It is generally considered[by whom?] in one of two ways: as frames in thought, consisting of the mental representations, interpretations, and simplifications of reality, and frames in communication, consisting of the communication of frames between different actors.[1]

One can view framing in communication as positive or negative - depending on the audience and what kind of information is being presented. Framing might also be understood as being either equivalence frames, which represent logically equivalent alternatives portrayed in different ways (see framing effect) or as emphasis frames, which simplify reality by focusing on a subset of relevant aspects of a situation or issue.[1] In the case of "equivalence frames", the information being presented is based on the same facts, but the "frame" in which it is presented changes, thus creating a reference-dependent perception.

The effects of framing can be seen in many journalism applications. With the same information being used as a base, the "frame" surrounding the issue can change the reader's perception without having to alter the actual facts. In the context of politics or mass-media communication, a frame defines the packaging of an element of rhetoric in such a way as to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others. For political purposes, framing often presents facts in such a way that implicates a problem that is in need of a solution. Members of political parties attempt to frame issues in a way that makes a solution favoring their own political leaning appear as the most appropriate course of action for the situation at hand.[2]

In social theory, framing is a schema of interpretation, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes, that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events.[3] In other words, people build a series of mental "filters" through biological and cultural influences.[citation needed] They then use these filters to make sense of the world. The choices they then make are influenced by their creation of a frame.

Framing is also a key component of sociology, the study of social interaction among humans. Framing is an integral part of conveying and processing data on a daily basis. Successful framing techniques can be used to reduce the ambiguity of intangible topics by contextualizing the information in such a way that recipients can connect to what they already know.

BoyLovers and the "framing effect"

In research

Much research on BoyLove and BoyLovers suffers from the "framing effect". How a researcher presents, or "frames" a question strongly influences the answers that he will receive.

Example 1: A researcher questioning a BoyLover "frames" the question to damn the BoyLover:
Are you concerned about the great harm that pedophiles cause to children?
... instead of:
What are your feelings about the possibility of harm in pedophile relationships with children?
Example 2: A researcher does a survey of a group of students.
First, he asks, "Have you ever had a sexual experience as a child [NOTE: "As a 'child' does not specify an age, so the person who answers is not limited to any specific age range, so this is a form of "framing",too -- anyone experiencing any sexual activity when under the age of 18 would be considered to be "a child"]?
Some of the respondents answer, "yes".
Next question:
If you did have a sexual experience [NOTE: "A sexual experience" is not defined.] as a child, did you ever have a negative reaction to the experience?
[NOTE: No experience is 100% positive, so the question is already "framed" to get many "yes" responses to it.]
Results: The researcher then reports in his study, "A large number of victims of child sexual abuse [another frame] reported negative reactions to their abuse [and yet another frame!]."

In the media

Media reports "frame" their reporting. If someone is caught after having sex with a minor, then the report "frames" him as a "child rapist", even though his "victim" may have been a sexually mature minor, and the offense was "statutory rape" -- sexual activity engaged in with the full consent of the minor -- and NOT violent, forced sex with a young child, which is what [the "frame"] "child rapist" implies.

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