Construal level and procrastination

Sean M. McCrea, Nira Liberman, Yaacov Trope, Steven J. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

According to construal-level theory, events that are distant in time tend to be represented more abstractly than are events that are close in time. This mental association between level of abstractness and temporal distance is proposed to be a bidirectional relationship, such that level of representation of an event should also have effects on the time when the activity is performed. In the present studies, participants were asked to respond to a questionnaire via e-mail within 3 weeks. The questionnaire was designed to induce either an abstract or a concrete construal. Using a variety of manipulations of construal level, the studies supported the predictions of construal-level theory. Individuals were less likely to procrastinate performing the task when the questionnaire induced a more concrete construal. Furthermore, this effect did not depend on the attractiveness, importance, or perceived difficulty of the task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1314
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Volume19
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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    McCrea, S. M., Liberman, N., Trope, Y., & Sherman, S. J. (2008). Construal level and procrastination. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1308-1314. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02240.x