Way back in 1981, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman conducted a study to understand how different phrasing affects people’s decisions. The participants were asked to choose between two treatments for 600 people who had a deadly disease.
The first treatment was predicted to result in 400 deaths whereas the second was predicted to save 200 lives.
Yes, they both showed the same result. But the researchers presented this to the audience as two options - one that had a positive framing (how many people will live) and one had a negative framing (how many people will die)
The result was that 72% of people chose the first treatment with the positive framing while this number dropped to 22% when the same choice was presented with negative framing.
This happens in our daily lives as well. A discount to register early will not have the same effect on us as opposed to a penalty of failing to register. Why? Because we become prey to such framing.
So, take time to understand such framing effects in daily life. Reverse the frame to make better decisions. For example, “90% of this product comes with a guarantee,” to “10% of this product doesn’t”.
Can you think of any other ways to beat this cognitive bias?