The framing effect: disregarding reality
The framing effect is a cognitive bias according to which the same information, presented in different ways, can lead us to different conclusions. Lara de Castro, from the Human Resources team at 11Onze, explains how this distortion of perception can affect our day-to-day decisions.
We all like to think that when it comes to making a decision or a choice we follow our criteria with a certain objectivity, but as Lara de Castro explains, “our critical thinking is not as impartial as we think it is, but rather we respond according to how the question is posed to us”.
There are countless examples of how cognitive bias determines people’s decision-making. It is a cognitive framework where people decide on one option or the other depending on whether the options are presented with positive or negative connotations. For example, if you have to undergo surgery, and you have to sign a document to give your consent: if you are told that there is a 90% chance that it will go well, you are more likely to sign the document than if you are told that there is a 10% chance that it will go badly.
Taking advantage of this intrinsic cognitive bias in people based on how the brain makes comparisons between positive vs. negative, loss vs. gain, better vs. worse, etc., makes it easier for “people, governments and companies that dominate communication to do what they want with us”, says de Castro.
De Castro makes a reflection in this sense: “If we focus on the world of finance, this bias is even scarier, because it suggests that the decisions you make in relation to your personal finances are determined by the way the question is posed, and by whom it is posed”. Hence, the importance of financial education, as being informed is the only antidote that has been shown to be effective against marketing techniques that exploit cognitive bias to influence our decision-making.
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