Negation Framing: Redefining Issues by Challenging Existing Associations

11.06.2018 - 12:00
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
Prof. J. Scott Matthews
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow MZES

While a large literature investigates the influence of frames, existing research has focused entirely on “affirmative frames”: issue interpretations that assert, or affirm, that a given consideration is relevant to formation of a given attitude. We know little, however, about “negation frames,” i.e., frames that negate the relevance of a given consideration to opinion on an issue. This paper proposes a theory of negation frames, and then evaluates this theory in two experimental studies of Americans’ attitudes regarding hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). The results suggest that, at least under certain conditions, negation frames influence the structure of political attitudes, altering the judgmental weights of both the considerations they negate and other salient considerations that are relevant to the opinion in question. Further, negation frames are observed to alter the distribution of attitudes, shifting the balance of opinion on an issue to a politically significant degree. The findings speak to the psychology of framing effects in general, and also have implications for theories of campaign rhetoric.