Communication, contextualization, & cognition: patterns & processes of frames' influence on people's interpretations of the EU Constitution

Research output: Book/ReportBook


"Framing affects what meaning a specific piece of information can assume. As a consequence, frames influence people's interpretations in at least three interrelated ways: first, frames selectively direct attention toward specific knowledge already available to a person. Second, famously, frames affect people's evaluations of issues by rendering different aspects more or less salient. Third, frames influence what further information coheres with a train of thought pursued, thereby directing the integration of information into people's complex understandings of the world they live in. This study focuses on the understudied first and last of the above aspects. It develops and tests a theory of cognitive frame processing and aims to shed light on the role of frames in the formation of coherent, integrated social knowledge from discrete information. The present study makes four main contributions to the academic debate on frames and framing. First, it integrates, further specifies, and extends existing theoretical approaches to framing within a network conceptualization of meaning. The conceptualization id compatible with linguistic theories of semantics as well as psychological theories of memory, and allows a much more encompassing view upon frames within social discourse and imagination. Second, it tests several theoretical propositions regarding the cognitive mechanisms underlying the processing of frame-embedded information, supporting the view that frames mostly affect the semantic information brought to attention. Focusing on the interpretations of the European Constitution, third, this study compares the range of frames proliferated in Dutch public discourse with those formed by voters during the referendum campaign in the Netherlands. It finds that frames undergo a substantial degree of transformation during the acquisition of knowledge, reflecting people's selective use and re-interpretation of the available information. ... [long field truncated]
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDelft
Number of pages246
ISBN (Print)9059724313, 9789059724310
StatePublished - 2010


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