Proposition structure in framed decision problems: A formal representation.

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Wickham, P. (2007)
  • Publisher: University of Leeds

Framing effects, which may induce decision-makers to demonstrate preference description invariance violation for logically equivalent options varying in semantic emphasis, are an economically significant decision bias and an active area of research. Framing is an issue inter alia for the way in which options are presented in stated-choice studies where (often inadvertent) semantic emphasis may impact on preference responses. While research into both espoused preference effects and its cognitive substrate is highly active, interpretation and explanation of preference anomalies is beset by variation in the underlying structure of problems and latitude for decision-maker elaboration. A formal, general scheme for making transparent the parameter and proposition structure of framed decision stimuli is described. Interpretive and cognitive explanations for framing effects are reviewed. The formalism’s potential for describing extant, generating new stimulus tasks, detailing decision-maker task elaboration. The approach also provides a means of formalising stated-choice response stimuli and provides a metric of decision stimuli complexity. An immediate application is in the structuring of stated-choice test instruments.\ud
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