The Power of Media Framing

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The way the media frame issues has a subtle yet significant effect on the general public. Studies have shown that frames can help determine which procedures we find medically necessary (Edwards, Elwyn, Covey, Matthews, & Pill, 2001), can influence our ability to recall critical details of a news story (Valkenburg, 2000), and can even subtly influence elections (Shah, Domke, & Wackman, 1996). Given the impact frames can have on the general public, it is important to have a clear way to conceptualize and measure their effects. The most recent full explication of frames and framing effects comes from Bertram and Dietram Scheufele (2010), and serves to define what frames are, what they do, how they do it, and where they come from. However, it is lacking a predictive model for when effects will occur. Adding this level to the framing model will greatly expand the ability of researchers to accurately measure the effects of framing on individual cognitions and will at least in part fulfil the call of Scheufele and Scheufele (2010) to integrate disparate sociological and psychological theories into our understanding of framing (p. 131). This literature synthesis draws upon recent research to show that the occurrence of framing effects may be dependent upon the processing strategy utilized by the message receiver (Stewart, 2013). This paper focuses on laying out the core tenants of framing and framing effects, and begins with an explication of key framing concepts. After this, the heuristic-systematic model is explored as a possible candidate for explaining when the effects of framing occur, and an updated model of framing effects is presented which takes these additions into consideration. The implications and limitations of this approac... ... middle of paper ... ...ce of news frames and science background on attributions about embryonic and adult stem cell research frames as heuristic/biasing cues. Science Communication, 35(1), 86–114. doi:10.1177/1075547012440517 Todorov, A., Chaiken, S., & Henderson, M. D. (2002). The heuristic-systematic model of social information processing. In J. P. Dillard & M. Pfau (Eds.), The persuasion handbook: developments in theory and practice (pp. 195–211). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1973). Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cognitive Psychology, 5(2), 207–232. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(73)90033-9 Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211(4481), 453–458. Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). The effects of news frames on readers’ thoughts and recall. Communication Abstracts, 23(2).
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