Decision Analysis

The Role of Inference in Attribute Framing Effects

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Previous research has shown that a speaker's choice between logically equivalent frames is influenced by reference point information, and that listeners draw accurate inferences based on the frame. Less clear, however, is whether these inferences play a causal role in generating attribute framing effects. Two experiments are reported, which suggest that frame-dependent inferences are sufficient to generate attribute framing effects, and that blocking such inferences may block framing effects. Experiment 1 decomposed the typical framing design into two parts: One group of participants saw a target described in one of two attribute frames and reported their estimates (inferences) of the typical attribute value. These estimates were then given to a second group of yoked participants, who evaluated the target. Although this latter group was not exposed to different attribute frames, they nevertheless exhibited a "framing effect" as a result of receiving systematically different inferences. In contrast, Experiment 2 shows that experts--who are familiar with an attribute's distribution and are therefore less likely to draw strong frame-based inferences--exhibit a diminished framing effect. Together, these findings underscore the role of inferences in the generation and attenuation of attribute framing effects.
Bibliographic citation: Leong, Lim M.; Müller-Trede, Johannes; McKenzie, Craig R. M.; Sher, Shlomi, "The Role of Inference in Attribute Framing Effects", Behavioral Decision Making, 2017, (Online)

Reference: 10.1002/bdm.2030 (DOI)
Date: 02/08/2017
Author(s): Leong, Lim M.; Müller-Trede, Johannes; McKenzie, Craig R. M.; Sher, Shlomi
Document type: Article in Journal (refereed)
Languages: English