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Part Three: Common Biases and Errors Tha... > Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full...

Chapter Eighteen. Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full? The Framing Bias

First umpire: “Some’s balls and some’s strikes and I calls ’em as they is.

Second umpire: “Some’s balls and some’s strikes and I calls ’em as I sees ’em.”

Third umpire: “Some’s balls and some’s strikes but they ain’t nothin’ till I calls ’em.”

H. Cantril

The following story demonstrates the link between framing and decision making.[1] Two young priests were heavy smokers and somewhat troubled about this habit when they were praying. The first asked his bishop: “Would it be permissible for me to smoke while praying to the Lord?” The bishop responded with a resounding “No.” The second priest asked the same bishop permission, but worded his question a bit differently. He asked, “During those moments of weakness when I smoke, would it be permissible for me to say a prayer to the Lord?” The answer to the second priest was “Yes, of course, my son.” Notice that the way the two questions were worded changed the decision that the bishop made.


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