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Issue 3/2015

Okładka pierwszego numeru czasopisma Psychologia Społeczna


Framing effect: Cognitive effort and influence of contextual cues 
about gains and losses on decision making

Dorota Rutkowska, Krzysztof Przybyszewski

Framing effect is observed in decisions under risk. It manifests itself in change of preferences about choice between certain and uncertain (risky) options and occurs due to the influence of the gain or loss domain in which the choice takes place. In the gain domain the decision makers tend to prefer a sure gain over the risky gain while in the loss domain they prefer the risky loss over the sure loss. The key controversy about the nature of the framing effect pertains to the question whether the effect is caused by effortless information processing or whether it is produced by investment of cognitive effort into analysis of the decision problem. The article presents the review of empirical studies which support both views. In the first part we discuss research in which the amount of cognitive effort involved in making choices was inferred from individual qualities of the decision makers. In the second part we present studies that demonstrate the influence of situational conditions on involvement of cognitive effort in decision making in gain or loss domains. The third part contains the review of studies which examine the relationship between properties of the process of decision making and the amount of cognitive effort invested by a decision maker. Finally, we seek to integrate these findings that suggest that cognitive effort is not only the factor that prevents the framing effect, but also, under certain circumstances, it may be directly responsible for its occurrence.

Key words: framing effect, decisions, risk, cognitive effort

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