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The illusion of the framing effect in risky decision making



The present study elucidates that the illusion of framing in risky decisions is induced by the expected losses with the shift of independent or complementary schemata. Throughout three studies, the reversal of risk preferences in the gain and loss frames was confirmed when the expected number of losses was unknown. When it was known, however, the reversal was reduced in Study 2 where the decision makers were informed of all the options in both frames, and eliminated in Study 3 where they elaborated the numbers of lives at stake before making decisions. Further, the complementary schema was more pervasive when the number of expected losses was known, while the independent schema was more common when the number was unknown. These results imply that the illusion of framing is due to the shift of schemata concerning the lives saved and lost. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.