Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Barry Edelstein.


The framing effect in medical decision making was examined using individual and collaborative older adult decision makers. One hundred eight adults over the age of 60 participated. A lung cancer scenario was presented to each participant, with the option of choosing surgery or radiation for treatment. Participants viewed the options in either a positive (survival) or negative (mortality) frame. A mixed design was used, with frame (positive or negative) and condition (individual or collaborative) as the between subject factors, and data format (cumulative probability, interval probability, and life expectancy) as the within subject factor. Individuals demonstrated the framing effect in one data format, life expectancy, by choosing surgery in the positive frame and radiation in the negative frame more often than expected by chance. Collaborative decision makers demonstrated the framing effect in two data formats, cumulative and interval probability. Collaborators indicated higher confidence ratings in the data format where the framing effect was not exhibited as compared to the data formats where the framing effect was exhibited. There were no other differences in confidence and use of information ratings across data formats or between decision makers who demonstrated the framing effect and decision makers who did not demonstrate the framing effect.