Essay Sample on Communication: Framing of Emotions

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1285 Words
Date:  2022-12-17


What could be the cause of emotions? According to some scholars, the primary determinant of all emotions is mental apprehension of particular personal significance in the present transaction. At the fundamental level of emotion, individuals have to recognize what is happening to them before developing emotions about it. For instance, if person A trips of person Bs foot, person A will not just get angry unless person B perceives the other person to be accountable for his actions. A great deal of studies on framing of emotions has also shown the ability of frames to impact individual opinions on a wide range of issues.

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To explain these effects, researchers have studied the topic by focusing on cognitive process surrounding framing thus avoiding precise placement of emotions in the framing process. Frames are dependent on emotional appeals and are designed to elicit particular emotional reactions. How do emotions influence the framing process? To look into this question, this essay discusses the many ways scholars have touched on the topic of framing emotions from an interpersonal communication perspective. Using a set of particular expectations, I will test the authenticity of these articles based on a few issues.

The Framing of Emotions Process

The concept of framing could be used politically or in the new media to design the debate about an issue. By emphasizing on particular aspects of a problem, media houses can frame or influence how the audience perceives it. Effective framing can change opinions and beliefs because of the power to activate new feelings that would affect the way people evaluate issues. In as much as framing changes the way people look at points, the effects of framing could be described through some psychological and meditational processes as scholars have done previously.

Specifically, Gross & D'Ambrosio studied the framing of emotional response. In their study that does not go into so much detail about the cognitive process, these authors were concerned with how individual opinions affected the framing of an issue or event (Gross & D'Ambrosio, 2004). In their composition, they investigated whether different frames led to different emotional responses but used cognitive appraisal models to suggest how structures could change emotional reactions. An available consideration in this study is 'stored in memory,' and users in reacting to situations readily retrieve the frame. From this research, scholars agree that an individual must have an understanding of the meaning of consideration before he can respond emotionally to an issue. An accessible account is one that is retrieved from long-term memory. The more an individual is exposed to a long term memory of consideration, the more weight he places on forming emotions considerably.

In an online experiment where participants were made to react to depression messages with visual the reflected three stages of depression, (Sontag, 2018) also incorporate cognitive process in emotional framing though with the use of visuals. Without using verbal communication in interpersonal reactions, this research managed to show how participants responded to non-written messages. Most scholars have investigated the framing of emotions using oral and written messages, but Sontag takes a different route and looks into how visuals also elicit emotions in powerful ways. Just like written messages, the more one is exposed to visuals, the more weighty his formation of opinions. Therefore, the framing of emotions could also occur by making visuals available in one's memory and just like any other verbal frames; this frame could directly alter emotions about an issue. However, from this research, the author specified that not all visual frames could elicit a direct change of emotions. To conclude his investigation, this author found that the use of recovery-related visual frames was more effective in changing emotions compared to suffering visual frames.

Seo, Dillar & Shen also studied framing of emotions concerning cognitive aspects of interpersonal communication (Seo, Dillar, & Shen, 2013). A series of investigations into the framing of emotions in this study demonstrated that an addition of a picture in an interpersonal communication was sufficient to influence emotions of risk, gain or failure. Using the persuasion process of interpersonal communication, these authors discuss the extent to which visual imagery could affect the framing of persuasive emotions. Compared to previous research by Sontag that focused on visual images alone, this research used visual images in addition to oral or language effects of persuasion. In studying cognitive patterns of participants, this study concluded that framing of emotions could be of higher levels when verbal messages are combined with visual features because independently, these features could not provide sufficient data on how individuals form emotional responses.

Using instances that bring the audience to an understanding of traditional appraisal theories, (Huhne, Weber & Sommer, 2015), look beyond cognitive framing processes but do not do so by undermining the power of cognition. However, these authors dictate that it is not so clear if emotions would mediate the effects of framing and moderators of emotional processes. To address this question, these authors performed an experiment where responsibility for framing as a social problem is manipulated. In the results section, this study found that framing responsibility beliefs are individually associated with the intensity of emotions. This research becomes one of a kind because unlike previous one's investigators do not assume general responsibility of framing among participants but dictates the analysis with individual responsibility. Therefore, it is essential to view framing from a cognitive point of view, but future research should consider personal responsibility in emotional framing.

Nabi develops findings to support the relationship between framing and emotions and also looks at the importance of discrete perspectives of emotions in persuasive contexts (Nabi, 2003). Just like other scholars, Nabi does not take a traditional view of attitude change but instead explores the phenomenon using the possibility that emotions could serve inaccessibility of framing. Critically, his model includes cognitive factors such as fear and anger that influence considerations that are brought up by a frame. He does this with intentions to account for how emotions affect framing considerations. In particular, another person's apparent disgust that results in anger and fear could change our reaction which would direct us into feeling more disgusted especially in close interpersonal relationships.


The research on framing, effects of framing and emotions continues to expand, and researchers in their investigations have sought to look at limits of emotional framing and refute the idea of framing to manipulate the public. From previous researches discusses in this essay, there is evidence of a slight conflict about the many ways people react to framing effects and how framing works on particular cognitive factors. However, common ground among researchers is the examination of how framing works with a focus on cognitive factors without ignoring the influence of emotions. For a high-level of understanding of the framing process, future research could consider examining particular emotions and how they contribute to framing effects.


Gross, K. & D'Ambrosio, L. (2004). Framing Emotional Response. Political psychology, 25(1); 1-29.

Kuhne, R., Weber, P., & Sommer, K. (2015). Beyond cognitive framing processes: Anger mediates the effects of responsibility framing on the preference for punitive measures. Journal of Communication, 65(2); 259-279.

Nabi, R. (2003). Exploring the framing effects of Emotion: Do discrete emotions differently influence information accessibility, information seeking and policy preference? Communication Research, 30(2); 224-247.

Seo, K. Dillard, J. & Shen, F. (2013). The Effects of Message Framing and Visual Image on Persuasion. Communication Quarterly, 61(5); 564-583.

Sontag, J. (2018). Visual framing effects on Emotion and mental health message effectiveness. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 11(1); 30-47.

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