Too much on my mind: Cognitive load, working memory capacity, and framing effects.

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North American Journal Of Psychology
When an option emphasizes positive aspects and gains (i.e., positive frame), people are more risk averse; when an option focuses on the negative aspects, and losses (i.e., negative frame), people are more risk seeking, even when the expected value of both options remain the same (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981; Whitney, Rinehart, & Hinson, 2008). Although individual working memory capacity (WMC) differences should be considered in framing effect studies, previous researchers failed to address WMC differences (De Martino, Kumaran, Seymour, & Dolan, 2006; Guo, Trueblood, & Deiderich, 2017; Igou & Bless, 2006; Whitney et al., 2008) and may have failed to induce a significant amount of cognitive load to impact the magnitude of framing effects (Whitney et al., 2008). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if framing effects varied as a function of WMC under situations of high cognitive load (induced by a Reading Span Task). Consistent with the Cognitive-Affective Tradeoff account of framing (Gonzalez, Dana, Koshino, & Just, 2005), we found no effect of frame on rates of risk aversion and risk- seeking, for either high or low WMC individuals under high working memory load. However, participants were more riskseeking in response to high starting value conditions. In addition, the highest rates of risk-seeking were observed in the high WMC participants in negative frame - high starting value condition. These findings are somewhat consistent with Fuzzy Trace Theory (FTT) (Reyna, & Brainerd, 1991), and suggest that contrary to previous research on decision-making, in some situations (and in some experimental designs), high WMC participants may be more likely to fall prey to framing effects. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)
Decision making, Short-term memory, Cognitive psychology
Urs, M., Goodmon, L. B., & Martin, J. (2019). Too much on my mind: Cognitive load, working memory capacity, and framing effects. North American Journal of Psychology, 21(4), 739–768.