Framing the game: Examining frame choice in bargaining

Sally Blount, Richard P. Larrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This article introduces the study of frame choice in negotiation. Here, the selection of a procedural frame is treated as a dependent variable-a choice that bargainers make in addition to determining their offers. The empirical focus of the article is on whether, when given a choice between two alternative versions of the ultimatum bargaining game, negotiators choose the description that maximizes their expected payoffs. For example, in one frame-choice task, negotiators assigned to the Player 1 role were asked to select between framing the game as "Player 1 proposes a division and Player 2 accepts or rejects it" or "Player 1 makes a claim from a common pool and Player 2 makes a counterclaim." Past research has shown that the second frame leads to higher expected payoffs for Player 1 than does the first. Across four studies and three established framing effects, it is found that participants consistently fail to select the procedural frames that optimize monetary outcomes. Subsequent analyses suggest that this tendency is due to two factors: (a) nonmonetary motivations, such as fairness and respect, that influence frame-choice preferences and (b) cognitive limitations that inhibit the ability to accurately predict the effect of alternative procedural frames on opponents' responses

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-71
Number of pages29
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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