Frames of Reference

  • How a problem is framed makes a big difference in perceptions and solutions.

    Example: MPG Illusion

    “Consider two car owners who seek to reduce their costs: A switches from a gas-guzzler of 12 mpg to a slightly less greedy guzzler that runs at 14 mpg.The environmentally virtuous B switches from a 30 mpg car to one that runs at 40 mpg. Suppose both drivers travel equal distances over a year. Who will save more gas by switching?" The is intuition that B’s action is more significant than A’s, but it's wrong. (119 vs. 83). The frame used here, "mpg" is wrong. (It should be gallon-per-mile.) hence, we are getting the wrong perspective.


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