Fondness makes the distance grow shorter: Desired locations seem closer because they seem more vivid

Adam L. Alter, Emily Balcetis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Do appealing locations seem nearer than unappealing locations merely because they are more desirable? We examine the possibility that people represent desirable locations as nearer than equidistant undesirable locations. In three studies, participants represented a variety of locations on a university campus (Study 1) and in the greater New York City area (Studies 2 and 3) as nearer the more positive they felt about those locations. The relationship between positivity and closeness was mediated by the tendency for participants to generate particularly vivid representations of the locations when they evaluated them more positively (Studies 2 and 3). We discuss the theoretical implications of these results for mental construal, motivated perception, and metacognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Distance perception
  • Fluency
  • Motivated perception
  • Vividness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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