How to protect against the framing effect

The framing effect refers to the phenomenon in which people's decisions and preferences can be influenced by how a problem or choice is framed or presented to them.

For example, if a person is given two options, one framed as a gain (e.g., "You have a chance to win $100") and one framed as a loss (e.g., "You have a chance to lose $100"), they may choose differently depending on the frame.

Another example is in medicine. A doctor presents two options for a medical treatment to a patient. One option is framed as "90% chance of survival" and the other as "10% chance of death." Even though the options are mathematically equivalent, the way they are framed can influence the patient's decision.

Another is a menu that presents two options for a main course, one is labeled as a "healthy salad" and the other as a "tasty burger." Even though both options may have the same calorie content, the way they are framed can influence the customer's decision.

Framing effects are rife in investment options. For example, an investment advisor presents two options for a financial investment, one as a "conservative option" and the other as a "high-risk option." The way the options are framed can influence the investor's decision, even though the expected returns and risks may be the same for both options.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from the framing effect:

  1. Consider multiple frames: Look at the same problem or choice from multiple angles, and be aware of how different frames may influence your decision.
  2. Seek out diverse perspectives: Encourage dissenting opinions and listen carefully to different points of view. This can help you see the issue from multiple angles and avoid blind spots.
  3. Be aware of emotional reactions: Emotional reactions can be powerful drivers of our decision-making, so it is important to be aware of them and take them into account.
  4. Use quantifiable data: When making predictions or decisions, use data and statistics to support your position. This can help to avoid being misled by anecdotal evidence.
  5. Seek feedback: Ask for feedback from others and be open to constructive criticism. This can help you identify areas where you may be influenced by the framing effect and make improvements.
  6. Take a step back: Before making a decision, take a moment to reflect and consider all the available information and options. This can help you make a more informed and impartial decision.