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Framing in the Wild: Expressions of Decisions in Real-World Situations

Saner, Lelyn Duane (2008) Framing in the Wild: Expressions of Decisions in Real-World Situations. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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An important phenomenon in the study of behavioral decision-making is the surprising finding that people who are given choices framed in positive vs. negative terms exhibit different preferences. This study focused on a newer question: what factors influence the selection of frames by decision-makers? The development of a decision frame that has positive or negative overall value is a process that can be influenced by a number of factors. Several theoretical approaches to decision-making were examined with respect to making predictions regarding factors that would influence frame selection: mental accounting, task complexity, mental workload, expertise, regulatory focus, and message formulation goals. Predictions were extrapolated from each of these approaches and tested with data from a real-world decision-making situation - planning conversations from a set of NASA mission control meetings. The planning statements were transcribed and coded for frame selection and other behavioral/situational elements that were predicted to be related to frame selection. Mental accounting was not found to be related to frame selection. A predominance of positive framing, along with minimal use of negations, provided some support for the influence of positive expression bias. There was also evidence for aspiration mode impacting the selection of frame. The strongest predictor of frame selection, however, was an increase in expertise that occurred over the course of the mission. Between early and late mission phases, there was a significant decrease in positive framing, and this decrease interacted with task complexity. Based on these results, the hypothesis was proposed that decision-makers use opportunities for action as a means to frame decisions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Saner, Lelyn Duaneles53@pitt.eduLES53
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSchunn, Christian D
Committee MemberAshley, Kevin D
Committee MemberKlein, William M P
Committee MemberLevine, John M
Date: 16 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 March 2008
Approval Date: 16 June 2008
Submission Date: 21 April 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognition; Decision-Making; Framing; Mental Representations
Other ID:, etd-04212008-145614
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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