Framing (social sciences)

Framing (social sciences)


A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation — that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes—that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events.[1][page needed] In simpler terms, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences. They use these filters to make sense of the world. The choices they then make are influenced by their creation of a frame. Framing is also a key component of sociology, the study of social interaction among humans.

In psychology, framing is influenced by the background of a context choice and the way in which the question is worded (see Framing effect (psychology)).

To clarify: When one seeks to explain an event, the understanding often depends on the frame referred to. If a friend rapidly closes and opens an eye, we will respond very differently depending on whether we attribute this to a purely "physical" frame (s/he blinked) or to a social frame (s/he winked).

Though the former might result from a speck of dust (resulting in an involuntary and not particularly meaningful reaction), the latter would imply a voluntary and meaningful action (to convey humor to an accomplice, for example). Observers will read events seen as purely physical or within a frame of "nature" differently than those seen as occurring with social frames. But we do not look at an event and then "apply" a frame to it. Rather, individuals constantly project into the world around them the interpretive frames that allow them to make sense of it; we only shift frames (or realize that we have habitually applied a frame) when incongruity calls for a frame-shift. In other words, we only become aware of the frames that we always already use when something forces us to replace one frame with another.[2][3]

Framing, a term used in media studies, sociology and psychology, refers to the social construction of a social phenomenon by mass media sources or specific political or social movements or organizations. It is an inevitable process of selective influence over the individual's perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases. A frame defines the packaging of an element of rhetoric in such a way as to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others.

Framing is so effective because it is a heuristic, or mental shortcut that may not always yield desired results; and is seen as a 'rule of thumb'. According to Susan T. Fiske and Shelley E. Taylor, human beings are by nature “cognitive misers”, meaning they prefer to do as little thinking as possible.[4] Frames provide people a quick and easy way to process information. Hence, people will use the previously mentioned mental filters (a series of which is called a schema) to make sense of incoming messages. This gives the sender and framer of the information enormous power to use these schemas to influence how the receivers will interpret the message.[5]

Framing effect in communication research

In the field of communication, framing defines how news media coverage shape mass opinion. To specific, framing effects refer to behavioral or attitudinal outcomes that are due to how a given piece of information is being framed in public discourse. Today, every volume of the major communication journals contains at least one paper on media frames and framing effects ([6]). However, it needs to classify different approaches to framing research in communication into two groups: studies of framing as the dependent variable and studies of framing as the independent variable ([7]. The former usually deals with frame building (i.e., how frames creates societal discourse about an issue and how different frames are adopted by journalists) and latter concerns framing setting (i.e., how media frame influences on audience).

Frame building

Frame building is related to at least three areas: journalist norms, political actors, and cultural contexts. It assumes that several media frames compete to set one frame regarding an issue, and one frame finally gains influence because it resonates with popular culture, fits with media practices, or is heavily sponsored by elites. First, in terms of practices of news production, there are at least five aspects of news work that may influence how journalists frame a certain issue: larger societal norms and values, organizational pressures and constraints, external pressures from interest groups and other policy makers, professional routines, and ideological or political orientations of journalists. The second potential influence on frame building comes from elites, including interest groups, government bureaucracies, and other political or corporate actors. Empirical studies show that these influences of elites seem to be strongest for issues in which journalists and various players in the policy arena can find shared narratives. Finally, cultural contexts of a society are also able to establish frame. Goffman [8] assumes that the meaning of a frame has implicit cultural roots. This context dependency of media frame has been described as 'cultural resonance' [9] or 'narrative fidelity' [10]

Frame Setting

When people are exposed to novel news frame, audience will accept the constructs made applicable to an issue, but they are significantly more likely to do so when they have existing schema for those constructs. It is called the applicability effect. That is, when news frame invites people to apply their existing schema to an issue, the implication of that application depends, in part, on what is in that schema. Therefore, generally, the more the audiences know about issues, the more effective are frames, but it is not always possible. There are a number of levels and types of framing effects which have been examined. For example, scholars have focused on attitudinal and behavioral changes, the degrees of perceived importance of the issue, voting decisions, and opinion formations. Others are interested in psychological processes other than applicability. For instance, Iyengar [11] suggested that news about social problems can influence attributions of causal and treatment responsibility, an effect observed in both cognitive responses and evaluations of political leaders, or other scholars looked at the framing effects on receivers' evaluative processing style and the complexity of audience members' thoughts about issues.

Framing, priming, and agenda setting

One of the controversial issues regarding framing in the field of communication is the matter of theoretical integration. Many communication scholars theoretically attempt to either integrate [12], [13] or distinguish [14] framing from related concepts in communication, including agenda setting and priming.

Kosicki and McCombs & Shaw suggest the theoretical integration of framing and priming under the umbrella of agenda setting as a complex model of media effects hypothesis linking media production, content, and audience effects. Kosicki attempts to embrace the much informal and loose talk or writing describing agenda setting as a hypothesis to expand the theoretical and empirical boundaries and scope of agenda setting. He criticizes the limited characteristics of news issues that are frequently adopted in framing research; that is, “issue [of framing] should be something in dispute, that is, something about which it is possible to articulate more than one point of view”, but he also argue that agenda setting framework almost everything worth knowing about how the media cover an issue.

Recently, Scheufele & Tewksbury suggest that talking the three effects models together is good because they all mark a transition away from traditional media effect theories, such as Cultivation and Spiral of Silence, that hypothesize unidirectional and unmediated media effects on various perceptual and behavioral outcomes. However, they argue that those three concepts cannot be integrated due to the underlying theoretical differences. According to these authors, agenda setting and priming are based on the same premises, salience-based effects (accessibility effects), but framing is based on premises differ from those of agenda setting and priming, applicability effects. Framing is conceptually differentiated from agenda setting and priming. Framing is based on the assumption that how an issue is characterized in new reports can have an influence on how it is understood by audiences. That is, framing influences how audiences think about issues, not by making aspects of the issue more salient (or accessible), but by invoking interpretive schemas that influence the interpretation of incoming information. In contrast, the effects of agenda setting and priming are based on cognitive processing of semantic information. By receiving and processing information, issues are primed and made more accessible in an individual’s memory. The idea of accessibility is the foundation of a memory-based model of information processing, which assumes that judgments and attitude formation are directly correlated with the ease in which instances or associations could be brought in mind. That is, both approaches assume that media can make a certain issue more accessible for people and thereby influence the standards they use when forming attitudes about the issue. The authors imply that those three approaches should not be simply integrated for the sake of parsimony because of the different premises.

Framing effect in psychology and economics

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman have shown that framing can affect the outcome (ie. the choices one makes) of choice problems, to the extent that several of the classic axioms of rational choice do not hold.[15] This led to the development of prospect theory as an alternative to rational choice theory.[16]

The context or framing of problems adopted by decision-makers results in part from extrinsic manipulation of the decision-options offered, as well as from forces intrinsic to decision-makers, e.g., their norms, habits, and unique temperament.

Experimental demonstration

Tversky and Kahneman (1981) demonstrated systematic reversals of preference when the same problem is presented in different ways, for example in the Asian disease problem. Participants were asked to "imagine that the U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume the exact scientific estimate of the consequences of the programs are as follows."

The first group of participants was presented with a choice between programs: In a group of 600 people,

  • Program A: "200 people will be saved"
  • Program B: "there is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved, and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved"

72 percent of participants preferred program A (the remainder, 28 percent, opting for program B).

The second group of participants was presented with the choice between: In a group of 600 people,

  • Program C: "400 people will die"
  • Program D: "there is a one-third probability that nobody will die, and a two-third probability that 600 people will die"

In this decision frame, 78 percent preferred program D, with the remaining 22 percent opting for program C.

Programs A and C are identical, as are programs B and D. The change in the decision frame between the two groups of participants produced a preference reversal: when the programs were presented in terms of lives saved, the participants preferred the secure program, A (= C). When the programs were presented in terms of expected deaths, participants chose the gamble D (= B).[17]

Absolute and relative influences

Framing effects arise because one can frequently frame a decision using multiple scenarios, wherein one may express benefits either as a relative risk reduction (RRR), or as absolute risk reduction (ARR). Extrinsic control over the cognitive distinctions (between risk tolerance and reward anticipation) adopted by decision makers can occur through altering the presentation of relative risks and absolute benefits.

People generally prefer the absolute certainty inherent in a positive framing-effect, which offers an assurance of gains. When decision-options appear framed as a likely gain, risk-averse choices predominate.

A shift toward risk-seeking behavior occurs when a decision-maker frames decisions in negative terms, or adopts a negative framing effect.

In medical decision making, framing bias is best avoided by using absolute measures of efficacy.[18]

Frame-manipulation research

Researchers have found[19] that framing decision-problems in a positive light generally results in less-risky choices; with negative framing of problems, riskier choices tend to result. According to behavioral economists[citation needed]:

  • positive framing effects (associated with risk aversion) result from presentation of options as sure (or absolute) gains
  • negative framing effects (associated with a preference shift toward choosing riskier options) result from options presented as the relative likelihood of losses

Researchers have found[citation needed] that framing-manipulation invariably affects subjects, but to varying degrees. Individuals proved risk averse when presented with value-increasing options; but when faced with value decreasing contingencies, they tended towards increased risk-taking. Researchers[who?] found that variations in decision-framing achieved by manipulating the options to represent either a gain or as a loss altered the risk-aversion preferences of decision-makers.

In one study, 57% of the subjects chose a medication when presented with benefits in relative terms, whereas only 14.7% chose a medication whose benefit appeared in absolute terms. Further questioning of the patients suggested that, because the subjects ignored the underlying risk of disease, they perceived benefits as greater when expressed in relative terms.[20]-

Theoretical models

Researchers have proposed[citation needed] various models explaining the framing effect:

  • cognitive theories, such as the Fuzzy-trace theory, attempt to explain framing-effects by determining the amount of cognitive processing effort devoted to determining the value of potential gains and losses.
  • prospect theory explains the framing-effect in functional terms, determined by preferences for differing perceived values, based on the assumption that people give a greater weighting to losses than to equivalent gains.
  • motivational theories explain framing-effects in terms of hedonic forces affecting individuals, such as fears and wishes—based on the notion that negative emotions evoked by potential losses usually out-weigh the emotions evoked by hypothetical gains.
  • cognitive cost-benefit trade-off theory defines choice as a compromise between desires, either as a preference for a correct decision or a preference for minimized cognitive effort. This model, which dovetails elements of cognitive and motivational theories, postulates that calculating the value of a sure gain takes much less cognitive effort than that required to select a risky gain.


Cognitive neuroscientists have linked the framing-effect to neural activity in the amygdala, and have identified another brain-region, the orbital and medial prefrontal cortex (OMPFC), that appears to moderate the role of emotion on decisions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain-activity during a financial decision-making task, they observed greater activity in the OMPFC of those research subjects less susceptible to framing-effects.[21]

Framing theory and frame analysis in sociology

Framing theory and frame analysis provide a broad theoretical approach that analysts have used in communication studies, news (Johnson-Cartee, 1995), politics, and social movements (among other applications).

According to some sociologists, the "social construction of collective action frames" involves "public discourse, that is, the interface of media discourse and interpersonal interaction; persuasive communication during mobilization campaigns by movement organizations, their opponents and countermovement organizations; and consciousness raising during episodes of collective action."[22]


Word-selection or diction has been a component of rhetoric since time immemorial. But most commentators attribute the concept of framing to the work of Erving Goffman and point especially to his 1974 book, Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Goffman used the idea of frames to label "schemata of interpretation" that allow individuals or groups "to locate, perceive, identify, and label" events and occurrences, thus rendering meaning, organizing experiences, and guiding actions.[23] Goffman's framing concept evolved out of his 1959 work, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a commentary on the management of impressions. These works arguably depend on Kenneth Boulding's concept of image.[24]

Social movements

Sociologists have utilized framing to explain the process of social movements.[25] Movements act as carriers of beliefs and ideologies (compare memes). In addition, they operate as part of the process of constructing meaning for participants and opposers (Snow & Benford, 1988). Sociologists deem mass-movements "successful" when the frames projected align with the frames of participants to produce resonance between the two parties. Researchers of framing speak of this process as frame re-alignment.


Snow and Benford (1988) regard frame-alignment as an important element in social mobilization or movement. They argue that when individual frames become linked in congruency and complementariness, "frame alignment" occurs,[26] producing "frame resonance", a catalyst in the process of a group making the transition from one frame to another (although not all framing efforts prove successful). The conditions that affect or constrain framing efforts include:

  • "The robustness, completeness, and thoroughness of the framing effort". Snow and Benford (1988) identify three core framing-tasks, and state that the degree to which framers attend to these tasks will determine participant mobilization. They characterize the three tasks as:
    1. diagnostic framing for the identification of a problem and assignment of blame
    2. prognostic framing to suggest solutions, strategies, and tactics to a problem
    3. motivational framing that serves as a call to arms or rationale for action
  • The relationship between the proposed frame and the larger belief-system; centrality – the frame cannot be of low hierarchical significance and salience within the larger belief system. Its range and interrelatedness – if the framer links the frame to only one core belief or value that, in itself, has a limited range within the larger belief system, the frame has a high degree of being discounted.
  • Relevance of the frame to the realities of the participants; a frame must seem relevant to participants and must also inform them. Empirical credibility or testability can constrain relevancy: it relates to participant experience, and has narrative fidelity, meaning that it fits in with existing cultural myths and narrations.
  • Cycles of protest (Tarrow 1983a; 1983b); the point at which the frame emerges on the timeline of the current era and existing preoccupations with social change. Previous frames may affect efforts to impose a new frame.

Snow and Benford (1988) propose that once someone has constructed proper frames as described above, large-scale changes in society such as those necessary for social movement can be achieved through frame-alignment.


Frame-alignment comes in four forms,: frame bridging, frame amplification, frame extension and frame transformation.

  1. Frame bridging involves the "linkage of two or more ideologically congruent but structurally unconnected frames regarding a particular issue or problem" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 467). It involves the linkage of a movement to "unmobilized [sic] sentiment pools or public opinion preference clusters" (p. 467) of people who share similar views or grievances but who lack an organizational base.
  2. Frame amplification refers to "the clarification and invigoration of an interpretive frame that bears on a particular issue, problem, or set of events" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 469). This interpretive frame usually involves the invigorating of values or beliefs.
  3. Frame extensions represent a movement's effort to incorporate participants by extending the boundaries of the proposed frame to include or encompass the views, interests, or sentiments of targeted groups.
  4. Frame transformation becomes necessary when the proposed frames "may not resonate with, and on occasion may even appear antithetical to, conventional lifestyles or rituals and extant interpretive frames" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 473).

When this happens, the securing of participants and support requires new values, new meanings and understandings. Goffman (1974, p. 43–44) calls this "keying", where "activities, events, and biographies that are already meaningful from the standpoint of some primary framework, in terms of another framework" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 474) such that they are seen differently. Two types of frame transformation exist:

  1. Domain-specific transformations, such as the attempt to alter the status of groups of people, and
  2. Global interpretive frame-transformation, where the scope of change seems quite radical—as in a change of world-views, total conversions of thought, or uprooting of everything familiar (for example: moving from communism to market capitalism; religious conversion, etc.).

Frame analysis as rhetorical criticism

Although the idea of language-framing had been explored earlier by Kenneth Burke (i.e., terministic screens), political communication researcher Jim A. Kuypers first published work advancing "framing analysis" as a rhetorical perspective in 1997. His approach begins inductively by looking for themes that persist across time in a text (for Kuypers, primarily news narratives on an issue or event), and then determining how those themes are framed. Kuypers’ work begins with the assumption that frames are powerful rhetorical entities that “induce us to filter our perceptions of the world in particular ways, essentially making some aspects of our multi-dimensional reality more noticeable than other aspects. They operate by making some information more salient than other information. . . .” [27]

In his 2009 work, Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in Action[28] Kuypers offers a detailed template for doing framing analysis from a rhetorical perspective. According Kuypers, "Framing is a process whereby communicators, consciously or unconsciously, act to construct a point of view that encourages the facts of a given situation to be interpreted by others in a particular manner. Frames operate in four key ways: they define problems, diagnose causes, make moral judgments, and suggest remedies. Frames are often found within a narrative account of an issue or event, and are generally the central organizing idea." [29] Kuypers’ work is based on the premise that framing is a rhetorical process and as such it is best examined from a rhetorical point of view.

Episodic Framing vs. Thematic Framing

In his 1991 research, Shanto Iyengar proposed there are two types of framing, episodic and thematic.

In episodic framing, the coverage focuses on a single event or instance and does not provide much background information on the subject. This leads the receiver of the frame to assume the individual is responsible. For example, on a story about healthcare, episodic framing would cause a viewer to believe that a person who gets sick but does not have health insurance was being irresponsible, when in fact there may have been other factors at play that the individual cannot control.

In thematic framing, the coverage puts the issue in a general or abstract context while providing a lot of background information. This leads to the frame receivers assuming society is at fault for all problems. Using the same healthcare example, thematic framing would cause television viewers to think that society is at fault for everyone who does not possess health insurance, when in fact in some cases people are irresponsible.[30]

Framing vs. Other Media Effects

As researchers and theorists have built upon early definitions of framing toward operationalizing the concept, key differences in modern definitions have arisen, particularly in terms of placing framing in the context of other media effects, namely agenda setting. Proponents of accessibility vs. applicability models argue that the inclusion of framing under agenda-setting concepts leads to vague definitions that are difficult to study and characterize, while others argue that separating the concepts of agenda setting and framing creates definitions that are too specific.

Accessibility vs. applicability effects

Distinctions between framing and the concepts of agenda setting and priming have centered on specific mechanisms of each media effect.

In particular, agenda setting is typically defined in terms of salience transfer, whereby the prevalence of an issue in news media determines the perceived importance of that issue in the eyes of the public. In this way, the accessibility or salience of the issue at the individual level is determined by the number of times that individual has been exposed to the issue, regardless of the way that issue is presented.[31] The concept of priming extends from this definition, whereby the most salient/accessible issues in people’s minds are the most influential in their judgements of related topics.[32]

In contrast to accessibility-based effects, framing effects are often distinguished as relying more on how information is presented, rather than being determined by message prevalence.[33] Moreover, the goal of framing is to selectively activate, or apply, particular cognitive schema in the minds of the audience as a way of influencing how the presented information is understood and evaluated.[34]

Framing as an extension of agenda setting

In contrast to the accessibility versus applicability distinctions between framing and agenda setting, other scholars seek to merge agenda setting, priming, and framing within a single conceptual framework of agenda setting and agenda-setting effects.

Some arguments for a unified concept posit that agenda-setting effects are more complex; that prevalence may affect understanding and/or that frames may affect salience.[35][36] McCombs argues that “The news not only tells us what to think about; it also tells us how to think about it.”[37]

Similarly, some research groups place framing under the definition of second level agenda setting. First level agenda setting determines issue importance, while second level agenda setting draws on repeated discussion of specific issue attributes. For these definitions, framing is equated to second level agenda setting.[38][39]


Framing a political issue, a political party or a political opponent is a strategic goal in politics, particularly in the United States of America. Both the Democratic and Republican political parties compete to successfully harness its power of persuasion. According to the New York Times:

Even before the election, a new political word had begun to take hold of the party, beginning on the West Coast and spreading like a virus all the way to the inner offices of the Capitol. That word was 'framing.' Exactly what it means to 'frame' issues seems to depend on which Democrat you are talking to, but everyone agrees that it has to do with choosing the language to define a debate and, more important, with fitting individual issues into the contexts of broader story lines.

Because framing has the ability to alter the public’s perception, politicians engage in battles to determine how issues are framed. Hence, the way the issues are framed in the media reflects who is winning the battle. For instance, according to Robert Entman, professor of Communication at George Washington University, in the build-up to the Gulf War the conservatives were successful in making the debate whether to attack sooner or later, with no mention of the possibility of not attacking. Since the media picked up on this and also framed the debate in this fashion, the conservatives won.[5]

George Lakoff, a Berkeley professor of cognitive linguistics, has been a prominent[citation needed] voice in discussing the effects of framing on politics.

One particular example of Lakoff's work that attained some degree of fame was his advice to rename [41] trial lawyers (unpopular in the United States) as "public protection attorneys". Though Americans have not generally adopted this suggestion, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America did rename themselves the "American Association of Justice", in what the Chamber of Commerce called an effort to hide their identity.[42]

The New York Times depicted similar intensity among Republicans:

In one recent memo, titled 'The 14 Words Never to Use,' [Frank] Luntz urged conservatives to restrict themselves to phrases from what he calls ... the 'New American Lexicon.' Thus, a smart Republican, in Luntz's view, never advocates 'drilling for oil'; he prefers 'exploring for energy.' He should never criticize the 'government,' which cleans our streets and pays our firemen; he should attack 'Washington,' with its ceaseless thirst for taxes and regulations. 'We should never use the word outsourcing,' Luntz wrote, 'because we will then be asked to defend or end the practice of allowing companies to ship American jobs overseas.'

From a political perspective, framing has widespread consequences. For example, the concept of framing links with that of agenda-setting: by consistently invoking a particular frame, the framing party may effectively control discussion and perception of the issue. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber in Trust Us, We're Experts illustrate how public-relations (PR) firms often use language to help frame a given issue, structuring the questions that then subsequently emerge. For example, one firm advises clients to use "bridging language" that uses a strategy of answering questions with specific terms or ideas in order to shift the discourse from an uncomfortable topic to a more comfortable one.[43] Practitioners of this strategy might attempt to draw attention away from one frame in order to focus on another. As Lakoff notes, "On the day that George W. Bush took office, the words "tax relief" started coming out of the White House."[44] By refocusing the structure away from one frame ("tax burden" or "tax responsibilities"), individuals can set the agenda of the questions asked in the future.

Cognitive linguists point to an example of framing in the phrase "tax relief". In this frame, use of the concept "relief" entails a concept of (without mentioning the benefits resulting from) taxes putting strain on the citizen:

The current tax code is full of inequities. Many single moms face higher marginal tax rates than the wealthy. Couples frequently face a higher tax burden after they marry. The majority of Americans cannot deduct their charitable donations. Family farms and businesses are sold to pay the death tax. And the owners of the most successful small businesses share nearly half of their income with the government. President Bush's tax cut will greatly reduce these inequities. It is a fair plan that is designed to provide tax relief to everyone who pays income taxes.

Alternative frames may emphasize the concept of taxes as a source of infrastructural support to businesses:

The truth is that the wealthy have received more from America than most Americans—not just wealth but the infrastructure that has allowed them to amass their wealth: banks, the Federal Reserve, the stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the legal system, federally-sponsored research, patents, tax supports, the military protection of foreign investments, and much much more. American taxpayers support the infrastructure of wealth accumulation. It is only fair that those who benefit most should pay their fair share.

Frames can limit debate by setting the vocabulary and metaphors through which participants can comprehend and discuss an issue. They form a part not just of political discourse, but of cognition. In addition to generating new frames, politically-oriented framing research aims to increase public awareness of the connection between framing and reasoning.


  • The initial response of the Bush administration to the assault of September 11, 2001 was to frame the acts of terror as crime. This framing was replaced within hours by a war metaphor, yielding the "War on Terror". The difference between these two framings is in the implied response. Crime connotes bringing criminals to justice, putting them on trial and sentencing them, whereas as war implies enemy territory, military action and war powers for government.[47][48]
  • Recent popularization of the term "escalation" to describe an increase in American troop-levels in Iraq. This implies that the United States has deliberately increased the scope of conflict in a provocative manner. It also implies that U.S. strategy entails a long-term military presence in Iraq, whereas "surge" framing implies a powerful but brief, transitory increase in intensity.[49]
  • The "bad apple" frame, as in the proverb "one bad apple spoils the barrel". This frame implies that removing one underachieving or corrupt official from an institution will solve a given problem; an opposing frame presents the same problem as systematic or structural to the institution itself—a source of infectious and spreading rot.[50]
  • The "taxpayers money" frame, rather than public or government funds which implies that individual taxpayers have a claim or right to set government policy based upon their payment of tax rather than their status as citizens or voters and that taxpayers have a right to control public funds that are the shared property of all citizens and also privileges individual self interest above group interest.[citation needed]
  • The "collective property" frame, which implies that property owned by individuals is really owned by a collective in which those individuals are members. This collective can be a territorial one, such as a nation, or an abstract one that does not map to a specific territory.
  • Program-names that may only describe the intended effects of a program but can also imply their effectiveness. These include:
    • "Foreign aid"[51] (which implies that spending money will aid foreigners, rather than harm them)
    • "Social security" (which implies that the program can be relied on to provide security for a society)
    • "Stabilisation policy" (which implies that a policy will have a stabilizing effect).
  • Based on opinion polling and focus groups, ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm, has advanced the position that global warming is an ineffective framing due to its identification as a leftist advocacy issue. The organization has suggested to government officials and environmental groups that alternate formulations of the issues would be more effective.[52]
  • In her 2009 book Frames of War, Judith Butler argues that the justification within liberal-democracies for war, and atrocities committed in the course of war, (referring specifically to the current war in Iraq and to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay) entails a framing of the (especially Muslim) 'other' as pre-modern/primitive and ultimately not human in the same way as citizens within the liberal order.[53]



Preference reversals and other associated phenomena are of wider relevance within behavioural economics, as they contradict the predictions of rational choice, the basis of traditional economics. Framing biases affecting investing, lending, borrowing decisions make one of the themes of behavioral finance.


Edward Zelinsky has shown that framing effects can explain some observed behaviors of legislators.[54]

See also


  1. ^ Frame analysis; Goffman, Erving. Frame Analysis: An essay on the organization of experience, p. __.
  2. ^ This example borrowed from Clifford Geertz: Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (1983), Basic Books 2000 paperback: ISBN 0-465-04162-0
  3. ^ Goffman offers the example of the woman bidding on a mirror at an auction who first examines the frame and surface for imperfections, and then "checks" herself in the mirror and adjusts her hat. See Goffman, Erving. Frame Analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986. ISBN 093035091X, page 39. In each case the mirror represents more than simply a physical object.
  4. ^ Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (1991). Social cognition (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill
  5. ^ a b Entman,Robert "Tree Beard". Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of Communication; Autumn 1993, 43, 4, p.51
  6. ^ Scheufele, D. A. & Iyengar, S. (forthcoming). The state of framing research: A call for new directions. In K. kENSKI, & K. H. Jamieson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of political communication theories. New York: Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Tewksbury & Scheufele (2009).News framing theory and research, In J. Bryant, & M. B. Oliver (Eds.) Media effects: Advances in theory and research, New York: Routledge.
  8. ^ Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An easy on the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
  9. ^ Gamson, W. A. & Modigliani, A. (1987) The changing culture of affirmative action. Research in Political Sociology, 3, 137-177
  10. ^ Snow, D. A., & Benford, R. D. (1988). Ideology, frame resonance, and participant mobilization. In B. Klandermans, H. Kriesi, & S. Tarrow (Eds.), International social movement research. Vol 1, From structure on action: Comparing social movement research across cultures (pp. 197-217). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  11. ^ Iyengar, S. (1991). Is anyone responsible? How television frames political issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  12. ^ Kosicki, G. M. (1993). Problems and opportunities in Agenda-setting research. Journal of Communication, 43(2), 100-127
  13. ^ McCombs, M. F., & Shaw, D. L. (1993). The evoluation of agenda-setting research: Twenty-five years in the marketplace of ideas. Journal of Communication, 43, 58-67.
  14. ^ Scheufele, D. A., & Tewksbury, D. (2007). Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models. Journal of Communication, 57(1), 9-20
  15. ^ Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, 1981. "The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice." Science 211: 453-458.
  16. ^ Econport. "Decision-Making Under Uncertainty - Advanced Topics: An Introduction to Prospect Theory". (EconPort is an economics digital library specializing in content that emphasizes the use of experiments in teaching and research.) [1]
  17. ^ Entman, R. M. (1993). Journal of Communication 43(4), Autumn. 0021-9916/93/$5.00 43 (4): pp. 51–58 , pages 53-54.
  18. ^ Perneger TV, Agoritsas T (2011). "Doctors and Patients' Susceptibility to Framing Bias: A Randomized Trial.". J Gen Intern Med. doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1810-x. PMID 21792695. 
  19. ^ Tversky, A. and Kahneman, D. (1981). The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice. Science. Vol 211(4481) pp.453-458
  20. ^ The framing effect of relative and absolute risk. [J Gen Intern Med. 1993] - PubMed Result
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  22. ^ Bert Klandermans. 1997. The Social Psychology of Protest. Oxford: Blackwell, page 45
  23. ^ Erving Goffman (1974). Frame Analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974, page 21.
  24. ^ Kenneth Boulding: The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society, University of Michigan Press, 1956)
  25. ^ Snow, D. A., and Benford, R. D. (1988). "Ideology, frame resonance, and participant mobilization". International Social Movement Research, 1, 197–217
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  27. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in Action , Lexington Press, 2009
  28. ^ Rhetorical Criticism: Perspectives in Action
  29. ^ Jim A. Kuypers, Bush's War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age , Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2009.
  30. ^ Stephen D. Reese, "Framing Public Life", Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2003.
  31. ^ Scheufele, Dietram A.; Tewksbury, D. (2007). "Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models". Journal of Communication 57 (1): 9–20. 
  32. ^ Iyengar, S (1987). News that matters: Television and American opinion. University of Chicago. pp. 63. ISBN 9780226388571. 
  33. ^ Scheufele, Dietram A.; Tewksbury, D. (2007). "Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models". Journal of Communication 57 (1): 9–20. 
  34. ^ Scheufele, Dietram A.; Tewksbury, D. (2007). "Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models". Journal of Communication 57 (1): 9–20. 
  35. ^ McCombs, M. (1992). "Explorers and Surveyors: Expanding strategies for agenda-setting research". Journalism Quarterly 69 (4): 813–824. 
  36. ^ Entman, R. M. (1993). "Framing: Towards clarification of a fractured paradigm". Journal of Communication 43: 51–58. 
  37. ^ McCombs, M (1992). "Explorers and Surveyors: Expanding strategies for agenda-setting research". Journalism Quarterly 69 (4): 813–824. 
  38. ^ McCombs, M. E.; Shaw, D. L., Weaver, D. H. (1997). Communication and democracy: Exploring the intellectual frontiers in agenda-setting theory. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. 
  39. ^ McCombs, M (2004). Setting the Agenda: The mass media and public opinion. Maiden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Inc. ISBN 9780745623139. 
  40. ^ a b The Framing Wars. New York Times 17 July 2005
  41. ^ Walter Olson, Overlawyered weblog, 2005-07-18
  42. ^ Al Kamen, "Forget Cash -- Lobbyists Should Set Support for Lawmakers in Stone", Washington Post, 2007-01-17
  43. ^ Rampton, Sheldon and Stauber, John. Trust Us, We're Experts! Putnam Publishing, New York, NY, 2002. Page 64.
  44. ^ George Lakoff: Don't think of an elephant!: know your values and frame the debate. White River Junction (Vermont): Chelsea Green, 2004, ISBN 9781417665891. Page 3.
  45. ^ The President's Agenda for Tax Relief retrieved 3 July 2007.}}
  46. ^ Cognitive Policy Works/Rockridge Institute: Simple Framing
  47. ^ Lakoff, George (2004). Don't think of an elephant!: know your values and frame the debate. Chelsea Green Publishing. pp. 56. ISBN 9781931498715. 
  48. ^ Zhang, Juyan (2007). "Beyond anti-terrorism: Metaphors as message strategy of post-September-11 U.S. public diplomacy". Public Relations Review 33 (1): 31–39. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2006.11.006. 
  49. ^ "It's Escalation, Stupid." Alternet retrieved 3 July 2007
  50. ^ "The Rumsfeld Dilemma: Demand an Exit Strategy, Not a Facelift" by Bruce Budner, in The Huffington Post 15 September 2006
  51. ^ "Is It All in a Word? The Effect of Issue Framing on Public Support for U.S. Spending on HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries." by Sara Bleich. Retrieved 2007-07-03
  52. ^ "Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus" article by John M. Broder in The New York Times May 1, 2009
  53. ^ Butler, J. (2009), Frames of War, London: Verso.
  54. ^ Zelinsky, Edward A.. 2005. Do Tax Expenditures Create Framing Effects? Volunteer Firefighters, Property Tax Exemptions, and the Paradox of Tax Expenditure Analysis. Virginia Tax Review 24. [2]

Further reading

  • Baars, B. A cognitive theory of consciousness, NY: Cambridge University Press 1988, ISBN 0-521-30133-5.
  • Boulding, Kenneth E. (1956). The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society. Michigan University Press.
  • Carruthers, P. (2003), On Fodor's Problem, Mind and Language, vol. 18(5), pp. 502–523.
  • Clark, A. (1997), Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Cutting, Hunter and Makani Themba Nixon (2006). Talking the Walk: A Communications Guide for Racial Justice: AK Press
  • Dennett, D. (1978), Brainstorms, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Fairhurst, Gail T. and Sarr, Robert A. 1996. The Art of Framing: Managing the Language of Leadership. USA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
  • Feldman, Jeffrey. (2007), Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Control the Conversation (and Win Elections). Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing.
  • Fodor, J.A. (1983), The Modularity of Mind, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Fodor, J.A. (1987), "Modules, Frames, Fridgeons, Sleeping Dogs, and the Music of the Spheres", in Pylyshyn (1987).
  • Fodor, J.A. (2000), The Mind Doesn't Work That Way, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Ford, K.M. & Hayes, P.J. (eds.) (1991), Reasoning Agents in a Dynamic World: The Frame Problem, New York: JAI Press.
  • Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. London: Harper and Row.
  • Goffman, E. (1974). Frame Analysis. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Goffman, E. (1959). Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday.
  • Goodman, N. (1954), Fact, Fiction, and Forecast, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Hanks, S. & McDermott, D. (1987), "Nonmonotonic Logic and Temporal Projection", Artificial Intelligence, vol. 33(3), pp. 379–412.
  • Haselager, W.F.G. (1997). Cognitive science and folk psychology: the right frame of mind. London: Sage
  • Haselager, W.F.G. & Van Rappard, J.F.H. (1998), "Connectionism, Systematicity, and the Frame Problem", Minds and Machines, vol. 8(2), pp. 161–179.
  • Hayes, P.J. (1991), "Artificial Intelligence Meets David Hume: A Reply to Fetzer", in Ford & Hayes (1991).
  • Heal, J. (1996), "Simulation, Theory, and Content", in Theories of Theories of Mind, eds. P. Carruthers & P. Smith, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 75–89.
  • Johnson-Cartee, K. (2005). News narrative and news framing: Constructing political reality. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Kendall, Diana, Sociology In Our Times, Thomson Wadsworth, 2005, ISBN 0-534-64629-8 Google Print, p.531
  • Klandermans, Bert. 1997. The Social Psychology of Protest. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980), Metaphors We Live By, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Leites, N. & Wolf, C., Jr. (1970). Rebellion and authority. Chicago: Markham Publishing Company.
  • De Martino et al., 2006. "Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain". Science 313: 684-687.
  • McAdam, D., McCarthy, J., & Zald, M. (1996). Introduction: Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Framing Processes—Toward a Synthetic, Comparative Perspective on Social Movements. In D. McAdam, J. McCarthy & M. Zald (Eds.), Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements; Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings (pp. 1–20). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • McCarthy, J. (1986), "Applications of Circumscription to Formalizing Common Sense Knowledge", Artificial Intelligence, vol. 26(3), pp. 89–116.
  • McCarthy, J. & Hayes, P.J. (1969), "Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of Artificial Intelligence", in Machine Intelligence 4, ed. D.Michie and B.Meltzer, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 463–502.
  • McDermott, D. (1987), "We've Been Framed: Or Why AI Is Innocent of the Frame Problem", in Pylyshyn (1987).
  • Mithen, S. (1987), The Prehistory of the Mind, London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Nelson, T. E., Oxley, Z. M., & Clawson, R. A. (1997). Toward a psychology of framing effects. Political Behavior, 19(3), 221–246.
  • Pan, Z. & Kosicki, G. M. (1993). Framing analysis: An approach to news discourse. Political Communication, 10(1), 55-75.
  • Pan. Z. & Kosicki, G. M. (2001). Framing as a strategic action in public deliberation. In S. D. Reese, O. H. Gandy, Jr., & A. E. Grant (Eds.), Framing public life: Perspectives on media and our understanding of the social world, (pp. 35–66). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Pylyshyn, Zenon W. (ed.) (1987), The Robot's Dilemma: The Frame Problem in Artificial Intelligence, Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Stephen D. Reese, Oscar H. Gandy and August E. Grant. (2001). Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World. Maywah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN 978-0-805-83653-0
  • Russell, S. & Wefald, E. (1991), Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Scheufele, Dietram A. 1999. Framing as a theory of media effects. Journal of Communication, 49(1), 103–122.
  • Shanahan, Murray P. (1997), Solving the Frame Problem: A Mathematical Investigation of the Common Sense Law of Inertia, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0262193841
  • Shanahan, Murray P. (2003), "The Frame Problem", in The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, ed. L.Nadel, Macmillan, pp. 144–150.
  • Simon, Herbert (1957), Models of Man, Social and Rational: Mathematical Essays on Rational Human Behavior in a Social Setting, New York: John Wiley. OCLC 165735
  • Snow, D. A., & Benford, R. D. (1988). "Ideology, frame resonance, and participant mobilization". International Social Movement Research, 1, 197–217.
  • Snow, D. A., Rochford, E. B., Worden, S. K., & Benford, R. D. (1986). "Frame alignment processes, micromobilization, and movement participation". American Sociological Review, 51, 464–481.
  • Sperber, D. & Wilson, D. (1996), "Fodor's Frame Problem and Relevance Theory", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 19(3), pp. 530–532.
  • Tarrow, S. (1983a). "Struggling to Reform: social Movements and policy change during cycles of protest". Western Societies Paper No. 15. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.
  • Tarrow, S. (1983b). "Resource mobilization and cycles of protest: Theoretical reflections and comparative illustrations". Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Detroit, August 31–September 4.
  • Triandafyllidou, A. and Fotiou, A. (1998), "Sustainability and Modernity in the European Union: A Frame Theory Approach to Policy-Making", Sociological Research Online, vol. 3, no. 1.
  • Tilly, C., Tilly, L., & Tilly, R. (1975). The rebellious century, 1830–1930. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Turner, R. H., & Killian, L. M. (1972). Collective Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions", A.Tversky, D.Kahneman, Journal of Business, 1986, vol.59, no.4, pt.2.
  • Wilkerson, W.S. (2001), "Simulation, Theory, and the Frame Problem", Philosophical Psychology, vol. 14(2), pp. 141–153.
  • Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Social Grounds of Knowledge Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 199

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