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Framing DemocracyA Behavioral Approach to Democratic Theory$
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Jamie Terence Kelly

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155197

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155197.001.0001

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Framing Effects

Framing Effects

(p.7) Chapter One Framing Effects
Framing Democracy

Jamie Terence Kelly

Princeton University Press

This chapter introduces the phenomenon of framing. More specifically, it shows why the fact that human decisions are not invariant over equivalent formulations of the same decision problem ought to be of any concern for political theory. In order to do this, it distinguishes between two different kinds of framing effects (equivalency and emphasis), and gives reasons for thinking that emphasis framing effects will be common in politics. Further, it explains why our susceptibility to framing effects counts as a potential fetter to the reliability of democratic decisions. In very general terms, the fact that decisions are responsive to frames diminishes their ability to be responsive to good reasons. To the extent that the reliability of our decisions is dependent on our ability to be swayed by good reasons, then framing effects will negatively affect our ability to make correct decisions.

Keywords:   framing effects, human decisions, decision making, equivalency, emphasis

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