Framing is a cognitive bias which describes the way that humans react to a choice depending on how it’s presented – in particular whether it’s framed as a ‘win’ or a ‘loss’. It shows that we tend to ignore losses when something is described in the positive e.g. ‘saves 200 lives’ and that we over-estimate losses when something is described as a negative e.g. ‘200 out of every 600 will die of cancer’.
In market research projects, we have to be aware of framing in terms of how information is presented to respondents – as this will have a considerable effect on their reactions. The implication is that with a slightly different framing the results could have been different and this might have a significant impact on actions the client may want to take on the results.
The flipside is that market research projects may be set up to investigate ‘framing’ and understand how it might be used by a brand to prompt consumers into usage.
What is Framing?