Negative framing and No Pens Days

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The framing effect is an example of cognitive bias, in which our reaction choices depends on whether it they are presented as a loss or a gain. Our tendency is to avoid risks when they’re framed negatively is presented but embrace risks when a positive frame is presented.  Cognitive psychologists, Tversky & Kahneman explored how linguistic framing affects our responses to choices in hypothetical life and death situations. They asked participants to choose between two treatments for 600 people affected by a deadly disease. Treatment A was predicted to result in 400 deaths, whereas treatment B had a 33% chance that no one would die but a 66% chance that everyone would die. This choice was then presented to participants either with positive framing, i.e. how many people would live, or with negative framing, i.e. how many people would die. The results probably won’t come as much of a surprise. Treatment A was chosen by 72% of participants when it was presented with positive framing (“saves 200 lives”) dropping to only 22% when the same choice was presented with negative framing (“400 people will die”.)

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