money health weekly


Is the Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?


"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

-Yogi Berra


One of the first experiments involving how different phrasing can influence our choices happened in 1981. In this experiment, a group of doctors was told there are 600 people with a deadly disease and there are two treatment options. Option A would save 200 people with 400 people dying. Option B would give a 1/3 chance of saving everyone and a 2/3 chance of everyone dying. 

Pretty simple - except that that half the doctors were told that Option A saves 200 lives and Option B offers a 1/3 chance of saving everyone and a 2/3 chance of saving no one. 

72% of these doctors chose Option A. 

The other half were told that with Option A 400 would die and with Option B offers a 1/3 chance that no one would die and a 2/3 chance that everyone would die. 

Only 78% of these doctors chose Option B.

But...it's the same thing! This was groundbreaking. The fact that the way the options are worded could influence highly educated doctors in such a dramatic way is intense. 

examples of framing

Results Are In - Phrasing Can Influence You

This was a huge discovery. Because of this effect, called framing or the framing effect, it wasn't long before advertisers, politicians, policy makers, persuasion experts, con men, and tricksters could utilize this newfound knowledge to influence us. We can substitute urge, nudge, motivate, persuade, manipulate, or trick for influence.