Jul 13, 2020

The framing trap

We make decisions every day.

Often, we frame a specific question before making a decision. This is also one of the most dangerous moment. Because depends on how we frame the question, it can impose several biases for ourself.

This is perhaps illustrated well in one of the Daniel Kahneman’s research. Let’s say you have $2000 in your bank account and you are asked the following question:

Would you accept a fifty-fifty chance of either losing $300 or winning $500?

With a balance of $2,000, would you accept a fifty-fifty chance of having either $1,700 or $2,500?

Even though, both questions are, rationally speaking, the same. Studies have shown that many people will refuse the offer when they imposed with the first question compared to the second question. Because the last question have a reference point of $2,000, while the first question’s reference point is zero. Emphasize gains and losses which triggers a conservative response for many people.

Framing the question is crucial, but don’t just frame it once. Find another perspective and different way to frame them until it in a neutral and balance. For example: Would you accept a fifty-fifty chance of either losing $300, resulting in a bank balance of $1,700 or winning $500, resulting in a bank balance of $2,500?

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