Would you pick 90% fat free ice cream or 10% fat ice cream? Or choose a disinfectant that kills 98% of germs or keeps 2% of them? Stop and have a think about it. Ready? More often than not, marketers know exactly what our answers would be. The framing effect is one of biggest biases in decision-making. You'll notice that when we look carefully at these options, they're exactly the same.
The framing effect is when our decisions are influenced by the way information is presented to us. So basically, the way we word things changes what choices we might make. So why does it happen, what are the effects and what can we do about it?
As we discovered in the guide for 'Breaking down biases': Every single second, the human body sends 11 million bits of information to the brain to process. Yet, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi we can consciously process a maximum of ~110 bits of information pe r second. Merely listening to a conversation consumes ~60 bits of information per second.
Looking at these numbers, we can't possibly process everything we're presented with. So to help us out, our brains look for shortcuts (or what psychologists call heuristics). It's theorised that these shortcuts help us survive allowing us to quickly process information and make snap decisions. But, these shortcuts can also lead us to make misinformed decisions.