March 1, 2021

How are competitive framing environments transformed by person-to-person communication? An integrated social transmission, content analysis, and eye movement monitoring approach

J Coronel, J Orr, & A Hubner

Communication Research


Person-to-person communication is ubiquitous in everyday life, yet the literature on framing has not examined how the content and number of frames change when transmitted across individuals. In Study 1, we use the serial reproduction paradigm to examine how person-to-person communication and message length influence the number of frames in the information environment. In Study 2, we use eye movement monitoring to examine whether individuals direct greater attention to pro- or counter-attitudinal frames in a competitive framing environment. We find that the process of retelling frames from person to person can transform an environment containing multiple competing frames into an environment with a single frame. This is important given work showing that framing effects in competitive environments are more likely to cancel out. Furthermore, message length and prior attitudes play important roles in determining whether individuals direct attention to, remember, and transmit frames.

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