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Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
Unformatted Document Text:  RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU 6 other disciplines, however, several studies discuss the effects of positive versus negative framing of an issue. In psychology, for example, Tversky and Kahneman (1981; see also Levin & Chapman, 1993) argued that psychological principles that govern the perception of decision problems and the evaluation of alternatives and outcomes produce predictable shifts of preference when the same problem is framed in different ways. According to prospect theory, outcomes are expressed as positive or negative deviations (gains or losses) from a neutral reference outcome. When making choices involving gains, people are often risk- averse and when making choices involving losses, often risk-taking. In health communication, “gain- and loss-framed messages are constructed by the presentation of a specific outcome, such that it appears as a benefit or a cost in relation to a specific reference point” (Rothman & Salovey, 1997). For example, embedding HIV testing information within a frame emphasizing a personal loss led 63% women in a negative framing condition to show up to test for HIV within a two-week period, compared to 23% in a positive/ gain condition and none in the control condition (Kalichman & Coley, 1995). Similarly, one study compared the effectiveness of gain- versus loss-framed messages to persuade women to obtain mammography screening (Banks, Salovey, Greener, Rothman, Moyer, Beauvais, & Epel, 1995). The gain-framed (showing benefits of obtaining mammography) and loss-framed (showing risks of not obtaining mammography) videos were factually equivalent. It was found that women who viewed the loss-framed message were more likely to obtain mammography within twelve months of seeing the information. Research questions and hypotheses This study investigates the presence and effects of valenced frames in the realm of political communication. To investigate the valence of news frames and possible effects on public opinion we chose the December 2000 EU summit in Nice, France. 2 The Nice summit was of major importance for the future development of the EU and most important national politicians (heads of states and foreign ministers) took part in the summit. The summit was a suitable context to investigate the presence of valenced news frames in a cross-national perspective as countries’ support for European integration may affect the valence of the news frames.

Authors: De Vreese, Claes. and Boomgaarden, Hajo.
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RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
6
other disciplines, however, several studies discuss the effects of positive versus negative
framing of an issue. In psychology, for example, Tversky and Kahneman (1981; see also
Levin & Chapman, 1993) argued that psychological principles that govern the perception of
decision problems and the evaluation of alternatives and outcomes produce predictable shifts
of preference when the same problem is framed in different ways. According to prospect
theory, outcomes are expressed as positive or negative deviations (gains or losses) from a
neutral reference outcome. When making choices involving gains, people are often risk-
averse and when making choices involving losses, often risk-taking.
In health communication, “gain- and loss-framed messages are constructed by the
presentation of a specific outcome, such that it appears as a benefit or a cost in relation to a
specific reference point” (Rothman & Salovey, 1997). For example, embedding HIV testing
information within a frame emphasizing a personal loss led 63% women in a negative framing
condition to show up to test for HIV within a two-week period, compared to 23% in a positive/
gain condition and none in the control condition (Kalichman & Coley, 1995). Similarly, one
study compared the effectiveness of gain- versus loss-framed messages to persuade women
to obtain mammography screening (Banks, Salovey, Greener, Rothman, Moyer, Beauvais, &
Epel, 1995). The gain-framed (showing benefits of obtaining mammography) and loss-framed
(showing risks of not obtaining mammography) videos were factually equivalent. It was found
that women who viewed the loss-framed message were more likely to obtain mammography
within twelve months of seeing the information.
Research questions and hypotheses
This study investigates the presence and effects of valenced frames in the realm of
political communication. To investigate the valence of news frames and possible effects on
public opinion we chose the December 2000 EU summit in Nice, France.
2
The Nice summit
was of major importance for the future development of the EU and most important national
politicians (heads of states and foreign ministers) took part in the summit. The summit was a
suitable context to investigate the presence of valenced news frames in a cross-national
perspective as countries’ support for European integration may affect the valence of the news
frames.


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