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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Default Framing in Debates, Dating, and Politics

    Edit: Sorry this is so long!

    Framing is a term I ran into when reading about pickup artists. It describes what I think is a really fascinating phenomenon, which is whose worldview dominates the interaction.

    Framing in Dating
    To illustrate in the dating world, imagine you go up to a good looking guy or girl. They start talking about something (anything, trains) and you try to see what they're talking about. You listen and maybe compliment them a little, and try to navigate THEIR world. Now imagine approaching someone you find annoying. If forced to talk with them, you'll be more likely to settle back and let them discover YOUR world. You might make less of an effort to see things from their point of view. You're less invested.

    Example from random pickup site:
    She says: "If you behave, I'll let you buy me a drink."
    You counter with: "Are you too poor to buy your own?"
    You lose the frame by saying: "Then I'll make sure I don't behave."

    Example 2:
    She says: "Like in the Kama Sutra or in the book Art of Making Love by Jane Lawry, the goal should be to orgasm from the mind."
    You counter with: "Do you usually orgasm from the hand?"
    You lose with: "I like that you read books."

    You can see that the "lose with" is submissive and playing in the person's worldview. The "counter" challenges them and their view and pulls it back in your favor.

    Framing in Debates
    You see the exact same things in debate, and I see it all the time in law. A conflict arises and one party goes on the offensive, saying "these are the facts and this is correct." The other side can counter by going on the offensive - challenging the frame - or by going on the defensive - conceding the frame. Most of the time, there's some combination. Weak framers will concede points and try to appease, while strong framers will stay rigid. The Obama/McCain debate is a great example. McCain ignores, impresses his interpretation, dismisses, and doesn't concede. Obama, in contrast, makes concessions, compliments, acknowledges, etc. You can kinda tell who the strong and weak framers on this site are, too.

    Framing in Politics
    A lot of political rhetoric deals with framing. The current middle east conflict is a great example. Each side wants to push their view of the situation as furtherest as possible in hopes of shaping the other's view and understanding. Neither side wants to acknowledge the way the other side sees things, because it involves the risk of losing the frame (and losing one's voice).

    Framing in Other Situations
    The topic comes up in a lot of other areas when you think about it. Negotiation is all about framing and trying to submit the other person. Disputes with significant others, as well.

    It would seem to me that what's going on here is a contest for dominance. So, any time we have conflict, we would expect to see some type of framing activity. I'd like to explore the topic a little more, but especially with respect to dominance and what factors give people strong frames. Also, what factors lead a person to surrender a frame? Here's the big question: What rules can we come up with to predict who will win/protect and lose/abandon a frame?

    Protecting Frames
    1. Dominant individuals will always win the frame. (Imagine talking to Bill Gates. Imagine talking to a homeless person.)
    2. Individuals will protect their frame when it is tied up with their identity. (If you think of yourself as good at political analysis, you will hold your frame.)
    3. Individuals will protect their frame in the face of physical threat. (Political conflicts)
    4. Individuals will protect their frame when confronted with opinions of someone they don't trust as accurate. (In a debate with someone you think doesn't know wtf they're talking about, you will resist seeing the world their way.)

    Abandoning Frames
    1. Submissive individuals will always lose frames.
    2. Individuals will abandon their frame during surges of empathy. (Talking to someone in grief, you will jump to see the world their way.)

  2. #2
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Another question:

    Can we come up with a model to predict what leads to a framing conflict? Is it simply a battle for dominance/power/resources? Extra points for flowcharts.

  3. #3
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Very interesting. I'm more familiar with 'reframing' as a technique to view a bad situation in a more positive light. (You losing a job becomes an opportunity to find a job you are happier with anyway.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    What rules can we come up with to predict who will win/protect and lose/abandon a frame?
    Someone that wants to reach a win/win solution is more prone to abandon his frame. Skilled and dominate people will do it in such a way where they build a new frame that incorporates elements of both original frames. Unskilled or weaker people will lose their frame in the process.

    Someone more interested in win/lose will hold onto their frame unless they are literally forced to give it up (lose).

  4. #4
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    I think example 4 under Protecting Frames can be both active and passive - active in the sense that you may continue debating your position, or passive in the sense that you don't push your position but sit back and don't acknowledge/affirm the other persons' position either (I'm thinking more in situations where the other person isn't even worth my time and a debate is pointless). The latter might technically fall under 'Abandoning Frame', since it is more of a submissive behavior externally, but internally it is not - internally the person is not seeing things from the other view, they're just effectively ignoring the other person and staying in their own frame.

    I don't have any other comments yet....
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    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    What? Dating is a contest for dominance?
    You're doing it wrong!

    Defensive (not necessarily submissive) people will always lose 'frames'.
    And conceding a point doesn't have to mean losing.

    Do you concede the point?
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Great topic, thank you so much for bringing it up -- I've never seen it discussed before.

    Offhand, what about flex-framers? With the McCain/Obama example, certainly McCain would stick to his frame and never shift; Obama did shift, but usually only after it was clear that McCain would not, and he would either flex just enough to incorporate (or reinterpret) McCain's frame INTO his as much as possible.

    Perhaps this is a "Blob" strategy or some other sort -- when the other type has a rigid frame you can't shatter, you shift your enough to absorb some of the strength of theirs but then reinterpret it so it becomes your frame again?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Offhand, what about flex-framers? With the McCain/Obama example, certainly McCain would stick to his frame and never shift; Obama did shift, but usually only after it was clear that McCain would not, and he would either flex just enough to incorporate (or reinterpret) McCain's frame INTO his as much as possible.
    See, I see that as basically losing the posturing game.

  8. #8
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Does winning the frame = winning the debate? Or winning really at all? I don't think so.

    I think it's much more complex than simply conceding a point = losing = being submissive.

    Not all points are equal. If two people are butting heads, it's the person who concedes that starts to control the flow of the situation and move it from impasse.

    Basically by doing something which is here labelled as 'submissive' one becomes the gate keeper to resolution, or they can.

    It depends really on the intent and strategy of the people involved and level of conversation is happening.

    Good negotiators know what's really going and what is really at stake and what is really being fought over. Getting defensive and digging your heels in...is that winning a debate? In itself, no, I don't think so.

    PS Now you're making me paranoid.
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    Earth Exalted Thursday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Another question:

    Can we come up with a model to predict what leads to a framing conflict? Is it simply a battle for dominance/power/resources? Extra points for flowcharts.
    Yes & Yes.
    When it does, its not as fruitful for either party.
    Extrovert or not, we thrive on our communion with others
    in order to create a hospitable trade agreement,
    a bridge where give and take are in order and non-mercenary needs to be established

    Your thoughts.
    I N V I C T U S

  10. #10
    Senior Member simpleamazement's Avatar
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    ENTPs love framing.

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