Framing, Loss Aversion, and Visualization of Risk for a Dynamic Simulation Environment Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making

author list (cited authors)

  • Barnes, M. J., McDermott, P. L., Hutchins, S., & Rothrock, L.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Barnes, Michael J||McDermott, Patricia L||Hutchins, Shaun||Rothrock, Ling

publication date

  • September 2011