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Are Highly Numerate Individuals Invulnerable to Attribute Framing Bias? Comparing Numerically and Graphically Represented Attribute Framing

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on

Abstract

Judgments and decisions are frequently biased by attribute framing, presenting either positive or negative attributes of an object. This paper focused on two factors previously shown to moderate the attribute‐framing bias: mode of presentation and participants' numeric ability. Whereas many studies demonstrated that graphical display reduced the bias, recent findings suggest that graphical manipulation can nevertheless elicit significant framing bias. Numeracy has been shown to moderate attribute‐framing bias when the quantitative information was represented by numbers. The present study examined to what extent numeracy would still moderate the framing bias when it is graphically elicited. The results showed a significant framing bias for graphically‐ as well as for numerically‐represented framing scenarios. Critically, whereas numeracy moderated the framing bias in numerically‐represented scenarios, it did not have a similar moderating effect when the quantitative information in the scenario was graphically represented. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.