Journal Article

Advancing Framing Theory: Designing an Equivalency Frame to Improve Political Information Processing

Hillary C Shulman and Matthew D Sweitzer

in Human Communication Research

Volume 44, issue 2, pages 155-175
Published in print April 2018 | ISSN: 0360-3989
Published online April 2018 | e-ISSN: 1468-2958 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hcr/hqx006
Advancing Framing Theory: Designing an Equivalency Frame to Improve Political Information Processing

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  • Communication Studies
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Abstract

This experiment tested whether a communication frame could be developed to improve undergraduates’ understanding of contemporary political issues. Specifically, a metacognitive equivalency frame (easy vs. difficult) was designed to test whether framing and processing fluency affect constructs important to public opinion research. Consistent with expectations, those in the easy frame condition reported more confidence in their political knowledge, less ambivalent issue positions, and showed evidence of more ideological thinking than those in the difficult frame condition (N = 488). The results of this study imply that communication frames can be designed to improve people’s ability to reason through complex ideas. Theoretical advancements to framing theory and feelings-as-information theory are offered and practical applications for this work are advanced.

Keywords: Framing Effects; Cognitive Processing; Experimental Design; Public Opinion; Metacognition

Journal Article.  8776 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Communication Studies ; Use of Technology in Communication ; Communication Theory and Methodology ; International and Global Communication ; Interpersonal and Intergroup Communication

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