Frame Effects

A frame effect is said to occur when people react differently to a social or scientific issue as a result of the way it is framed—whether it is presented as a loss or a gain, for example, or a problem that affects individuals or society. In the world of social change, frame effects that result from different presentations of advocacy communications suggest how various communications strategies might elicit changes in public discourse, public thinking, public policy—and, eventually, outcomes.

As a highly creative and effective institution that supports the work of multiple social movements on the leading edge of progressive change, FrameWorks’ research and recommendations have played an important role in changing the public conversation by using frame effects to direct communications strategies. These resources influence public discourse and advocacy every day, around the world, on pressing social justice challenges by revealing underlying values, using explanatory metaphors to overcome complexity, and linking causes to solutions. These case studies showcase the impact of several coalitions and movements that have adopted and applied our pioneering methodology—Strategic Frame Analysis®—as part of social change work on issues including immigration, children’s oral health, and early childhood development.