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Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Apr;71(1):102-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2007.11.004. Epub 2007 Dec 27.

Framing effect debiasing in medical decision making.

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West Virginia University School of Medicine, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 9100, Morgantown, WV 26506-9100, United States.



Numerous studies have demonstrated the robustness of the framing effect in a variety of contexts. The present study investigated the effects of a debiasing procedure designed to prevent the framing effect for young adults who made decisions based on hypothetical medical decision-making vignettes.


The debiasing technique involved participants listing advantages and disadvantages of each treatment prior to making a choice. One hundred and two undergraduate students read a set of three medical treatment vignettes that presented information in terms of different outcome probabilities under either debiasing or control conditions.


The framing effect was demonstrated by the control group in two of the three vignettes. The debiasing group successfully avoided the framing effect for both of these vignettes.


These results further support previous findings of the framing effect as well as an effective debiasing technique. This study improved upon previous framing debiasing studies by including a control group and personal medical scenarios, as well as demonstrating debiasing in a framing condition in which the framing effect was demonstrated without a debiasing procedure.


The findings suggest a relatively simple manipulation may circumvent the use of decision-making heuristics in patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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