What is framing psychology?

What is framing psychology?

Framing psychology also called as the framing effect refers to the way that an individual views the world based on how it is presented to them.

This is also called a cognitive bias which suggests that people react differently to situations based on the way it is presented to them.

the way an individual perceives a situation either positively or negatively  has an impact on their lives and the decisions that they make.

framing is a type of cognitive bias where individuals perceive situations in ways that suits their needs and expectations.

These cognitive biases might be carried out individually or might be manipulated by others.

What is the prospect theory of framing?

According to the prospect theory developed by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1979, people evaluate their losses and acquire insights in an asymmetric fashion.

According to the theory, people are more influenced by the loss that they can acquire than the equivalent gains.

Herein, the framing effect becomes manifest when individuals are offered various options within the context of merely one of the frames according to Druckman(2001)

What are the ways of  framing?

The framing effect can be carried out by the following methods:

Emotional appeal

one of the primary ways in which a situation or a thing can be framed is by having an emotional appeal. this technique of using an emotional appeal makes the individual experience the emotion that is presented.

For instance, a charity held for underprivileged students might make you feel sorry for the students.

similarly, by donating books, stationery and clothes one might feel like they are of help to the students. even though an individual donates in such a situation it is a sense of mental fulfillment and gain .

Social pressure

every individual wants to behave in socially acceptable ways. in need of social acceptance people accept situations or things that can give them a positive membership into this huge social circle.

for instance, many food-producing industries claimed that their products are used by the majority of the population either geographically or globally which in turn pressurizes the individual to go for the similar products.

Using the products that the majority of the population uses gives them a sense of belonging.

Population focused

framing is usually carried out differently for different demographics. For instance, the younger population does not consider the risks associated with a certain behavior or an act whereas the elderly prioritize safety and comfort and believe in taking fewer risks.

What are the different types of framing psychology?

There are four main types of framing:

Auditory frame

in an auditory frame an individual is provided with two options and is significantly influenced by how the two options are presented.

For instance, two individuals from the same profession may have different auditory characteristics which in turn influence an individual’s decision.

For example, one doctor might have a soft and calming voice while the other might sound firmer and stricter.

Individuals are more likely to abide by the rules suggested by the doctor who sounds firmer and stricter.

Visual frames

Visual frames involve factors such as images, color, body language, and style. It is believed that objects that are visually stimulating are more appealing and preferred by people.

This is the reason why many products are aimed to be visually attractive.

For instance products for children are usually made more colorful and involve animation and graphics while the products for older people are designed in a way that gives a more soothing and promising effect.

On the other hand, some products are designed in a very neutral tone to catch the attention of any population regardless of the age and interest.

it is believed that nonverbal communication or body language is one of the most crucial factors in the framing effect.

Research indicates that nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, smiles, and gestures can contribute to the framing of a question.

Supporting this is an example where during a job interview candidates who are well dressed provide frequent eye contact and maintain correct body postures give a more positive impact than those who are undressed, avoid eye contact and have a lazy posture.

Value frames

Values hold a very important place in every individual’s life. Values work on more psychological principles and are used to make an individual feel that they are offered something that meets their needs and expectations.

For instance, higher values tend to make individuals believe that the product is of a better quality. this conclusion is usually derived from the thought process that higher values indicate better value.

Value frames can be both negative and positive. For instance, if a student scores 10 out of 50. Though 10 is a low score it is framed in a more positive way and helps to encourage the student to study harder.

Positive and negative frames

Positive and negative frames are both effective in different types of scenarios. In the case of negative frames, they can create a sense of urgency and need among individuals. while positive frames help in convincing the people.

Sometimes both positive and negative frames are used in combination to reap collective and favorable outcomes.


The framing effect is a cognitive bias where an individual’s choice is influenced by how the information is presented to them

the theory of prospect helps us to understand the framing effect in terms of how an individual evaluates their losses and acquires insights.

it is believed that the framing effect usually increases with age and can be seen in various situations.

Framing effects can be of various types such as visual, positive, and negative, value-based and auditory.

It is believed that the framing effect happens all the time and is impossible to avoid.

The best way to avoid the framing effect is to try and evaluate the presentation of the information or the product and rephrase the content to identify the underlying concepts.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What does framing mean in psychology?

Framing effect in psychology refers to a cognitive bias where individual’s choice and preferences are influenced by how the information is presented to them.

Why do framing effects occur?

The framing effect occurs because individuals’ brains tend to seek an easy way out. these shortcuts are also known as heuristics. Even though these shortcuts are helpful in short-term goals they can lead to bad decisions.

How does framing affect decision-making?

While making decisions individuals are usually influenced by a set of factors and their potential value in terms of loss and gains rather than the final outcome. When decisions are made based on such grounds it is referred to as the framing effect.

Why is framing in psychology important?

Understanding the framing effect helps to understand many of people’s decisions without making a false judgement about them. Many studies have confirmed the legitimacy of the framing effect.

What are the different types of frames in psychology?

there can be positive and negative frames in psychology where positive frames help to elicit a positive feeling and proactive behavior.

on the other hand, negative frames elicit negative feelings and reactive behavior. 

Stress and pressure are two factors that influence both positive frames and negative frames.