Are design professionals susceptible to framing effects too?

Our recently-published article “Using Framing Effects to Inform More Sustainable Infrastructure Design Decisions” shows that design professionals are susceptible to some of the same cognitive biases as students and other humans. In particular, endowing points in a rating system (rather than requiring they be earned) led designers to set higher goals for sustainability. In other words, how we structure sustainability rating systems will shape sustainability outcomes!

This interdisciplinary research is only possible because of collaboration with behavioral scientists Elke Weber and Eric Johnson, and with Ruth Greenspan Bell, a policy scholar. I’ve learned a ton from the discipline-crossing collaboration and more co-authored publications are on their way! We are also working with the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure on this research, which means findings will inform the next version of their ENVISION rating system.