The Difference Between Framing and Messaging
Framing is the most commonplace thing we do with thought and language. Frames are the cognitive structures we think with. They are physical, embodied in neural circuitry. Frames come in systems. Their circuitry is strengthened and often made permanent through use: the more the circuits are used, the stronger they get. Effective frames are not isolated. They build on, and extend, other frames already established.
All words are defined in terms of conceptual frames. When the words are heard, the frames are strengthened — not just the immediate frames, but the whole system.Fit matters. The brain is a “best-fit” system. The better a new frame “fits” existing frames, the more effective it will be; that is, the more people will think, and make decisions, using that frame.
Frame conflictThe activation of one brain circuit may either activate or inhibit another. A frame that fits a system will activate other frames in the system and make them stronger. Strongly activated frames will weaken frames that they inhibit.
There are progressive and conservative frame systems. Activating the conservative frame system, weakens the progressive frame system — both individual frames for particular issues, but also the system as a whole.That is how framing works. There are consequences.
Learn More: George Lakoff: Disaster Messaging.