The Framed Mind

The way an information is presented or framed as a choice is some times more important than the content of it. Nobel Laureate and Psychologist, Daniel Kahneman calls it the ‘Framing Effect’. The effect is caused by poor processing of information presented to you. You have a mind but it needs to work. It does usually but many times, not in required proportion to the task at hand, leading to wrong choices. I will tell you, how.

If out of two cardiologists, one tells to a cardio vascular patient due for surgery that there were 10% chances of death due to complications post surgery while another tells that there were 90% chances of survival post surgery, who would you chose.  Former or latter? Normally the patient would not take more than two seconds to select the latter for going under scalpel. But is that the right assessment? It seems to be. But it is not. The reason is that the info of 90% survival and 10% death is the same. Both convey the same meaning. A 90% survival also implies a 10% failure or death and a 10% death/failure also means a 90% survival rate. They are the same. Still our mind normally would be attracted towards a 90% survival option and would not  spend much time and energy to see the info in proper light. The 10% death  risk option doctor may be more qualified and might have gone through hundreds of them but his presentation of information as it is can cause an apparent loss of credibility, leading to not only him losing his patient, but a patient may end up with a bad choice based on obvious but framed famed. This is the impact of framing effect.

Likewise a packet of  95% fat-free chips are never better than just 5% fat. They are the same, but your hands guided from your otherwise reliable mind will hesitate to pick from the shelf one showing 5% fat and will happily pick up the 95% fat-free brand. So beware. See the information in right perspective and save yourself!


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