Frame It For Yourself
The way a question is posed can affect the answer given in response.
We recently replaced our broken printer, and I was in charge of getting the thing to work. I noticed a funny thing in the process, and would like to share with you my encounter with the Framing Effect.
Change The Frame, Change The Response
If you have ever installed a new device or new software for your computer, then you are probably familiar with the screen asking you to register your device, but who wants to go out of their way to find a company’s website and enter in all their personal information along with the device serial number when the expectation is that the information will just be used to send another 20 pounds of junk in the mail?
HP had a different solution. Instead of framing the question like this: “Would you like to take the time to visit our website, enter in your name and address along with the serial number of the printer you just purchased?” They framed it like this instead: “Click here to see what free rewards you may qualify for. *Device serial number will be automatically sent.”
You see, the question is the same in substance but when registration is no longer a chore but rather a chance to win something for free, people are more likely to not only go and register their device, but to do it in a damn hurry.
Can You See The Frame?
The next time you are asked a question, think about whether the question was worded the way it was for a specific reason. Have you ever seen a poll done on a major television channel with only two answer choices, neither of which you agree with? Do you think that, by giving such polls and reporting results, popular opinion can be misrepresented or even influenced?
Don’t Like The Frame? Then Change It
When you are asked a question, think about WHY the question was asked in the first place, and think about HOW the question was asked. Were you only given two choices, neither of which you agree with? If the question was fill-in-the blank, what answer would you give?
Assume that the person asking the question has very specific reasons for choosing the words to the question. Can you think of a reason WHY it was worded that way? What does the question-poser stand to gain? Better ratings? Support for legislation? Getting you to do something that you normally would not have done otherwise?
It’s time to think for ourselves. The time is now. No one is going to take care of us. No one is going to do the thinking for us in a way that is in our best interest and not theirs. Are you ready to change?
- Framing Effect (psychology)
- Framing (social sciences)
- Attitude Change
- Agenda-Setting Theory
- List of Cognitive Biases