Framing, Loss Aversion, and Visualization of Risk for a Dynamic Simulation Environment

Michael J. Barnes, Patricia L. Mcdermott, Shaun Hutchins, Ling Rothrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose was to understand the effects of loss aversion and framing on situation awareness (SA) and decision making for a dynamic missile simulation task. Whereas framing has been shown in numerous experiments that were based on the original paradigm, we hypothesized that the loss aversion effects were more general and would extend to conditions in which sure gains were not possible and would affect SA as well as decision making. Forty-eight students participated in a dynamic simulation in which operators had to decide which cities to defend and to answer SA probes while viewing 2-min scenarios wherein probabilities were assigned to a number of target cities as the missile attack unfolded. The authors varied frame in terms of lives lost or survived for a chosen allocation scheme and varied presentation mode in terms of either expected value or individual risk indices (probabilities and lives) as part of the graphic displays. There were significant effects on missile conservation decisions, coverage of small cities, and SA. The results supported theories positing more general effects of loss aversion related to negative affect. Guidelines related to presenting gain or loss information via graphic displays were suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-308
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications


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