Sarah A Fisher
University of Vienna
Framing effects occur when people respond differently to the same information, just because it is conveyed in different words. For example, in the classic ‘Disease Problem’ introduced by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, people’s choices between alternative interventions depend on whether these are described positively, in terms of the number of people who will be saved, or negatively in terms of the corresponding number who will die. In this paper, I discuss an account of framing effects based on ‘fuzzy-trace theory’. The central claim of this account is that people represent the numbers in framing problems in a ‘gist-like’ way, as ‘some’; and that this creates a categorical contrast between ‘some’ people being saved and ‘no’ people being saved. I argue that fuzzy-trace theory’s gist-like representation, ‘some’, must have the semantics of ‘some and possibly all’, not ‘some but not all’. I show how this commits fuzzy-trace theory to a modest version of a rival ‘lower bounding hypothesis’, according to which lower-bounded interpretations of quantities contribute to framing effects by rendering the alternative descriptions extensionally inequivalent. As a result, fuzzy-trace theory is incoherent as it stands. Making sense of it requires dropping, or refining, the claim that decision-makers perceive alternatively framed options as extensionally equivalent; and the related claim that framing effects are irrational. I end by suggesting that, whereas the modest lower bounding hypothesis is well supported, there is currently less evidence for the core element of the fuzzy trace account.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-021-00556-3
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References found in this work BETA

Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk.D. Kahneman & A. Tversky - 1979 - Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society:263--291.
Do Framing Effects Reveal Irrational Choice?David R. Mandel - 2014 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 143 (3):1185-1198.
Rationalising Framing Effects: At Least One Task for Empirically Informed Philosophy.Sarah A. Fisher - 2020 - Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía 52 (156):5-30.

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