Framing Effect

… a core concept in Ethics, Rights, and Accountability and Atlas111M

Framing3Concept description

The framing effect refers to the idea that the manner in which information is presented influences the way in which recipients of that information process it. See also Framing the Problem.

As Steven Bradley (reference below) writes:

“The framing effect is the idea that manipulating the way information is presented can influence and alter decision making and judgement about that information. Through the use of images, words, and by presenting a general context around the information presented we can influence how people think about that information.

“Framing is used exceedingly often in politics. One side sets the context for passing a bill as the end of humanity while the other side frames the situation of not passing the bill as the end of humanity. If you really want to understand how framing works study a political election in great detail as objectively as possible. Learn the facts and then watch how both sides present those facts to you in order to influence you.

“The context in which information is delivered shapes assumptions and perceptions about that information. Information taken out of context is often meaningless. Information within a context, within a frame is altered by that context and frame.

“People reach conclusions based on the framework within which a situation is presented.

“Positive frames tend to elicit positive feelings and result in risk taking and proactive behavior. Negative frames tend to elicit negative feelings and result in risk aversion and reactive behavior. Stress and the pressure of time amplify both.

“A common sales technique is to present your product in a positive frame, presenting your competitors product in a negative frame, and presenting the customer with a time sensitive offer requiring a quick decision.

“When people are exposed to multiple and conflicting frames it causes cognitive dissonance and the framing effect is reduced and neutralized leaving people to rely more on their own internal frames that have been created over time.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

The Study of Ethics in Public Policy and Management (core topic) in Ethics, Rights, and Accountability and Atlas111M Ethics.


Steven Bradley (2010), The Framing Effect: Influence Your Audience By Setting The Context, Vanseo Design, at, accessed 31 May 2016.

Page created by: Dave Marshall, last modified by Ian Clark on 31 May 2016.

Image:,, accessed 31 May 2016.