Broadening mental horizons to resist temptation: Construal level and self-control

David Kalkstein, Kentaro Fujita, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter highlights how understanding the psychological processes that underlie how people think about near versus distant events provides new insight into the who, when, and why people succeed or fail in self-control dilemmas. Promoting self-control in situations that pit distant goals against immediate temptations thus requires finding ways to promote people’s attention to and consideration of more distant rather than more proximal motivational concerns. Addressing this requires understanding the psychological mechanisms that underlie people’s ability to expand their mental horizons to consider psychologically distant outcomes. Empirical tests of the effect of construal level on self-control have manipulated construal level and observed its effects on people’s behavior. To manipulate construal level, researchers capitalize on procedural mindset priming-the tendency for a particular manner of thinking, once activated, to carry over to subsequent unrelated contexts. One area of health and well-being in which the role of self-control may be under-recognized is the domain of diagnostic testing and defensive dismissal of negative information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Self-Control in Health and Well-Being
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Theories, and Central Issues
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781317301424
ISBN (Print)9781315648576
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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