The effect of level of construal on the temporal distance of activity enactment

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A series of four studies demonstrates that, across different operationalizations of level of construal, different types of activities, and for both the self and another person as targets, construing activities in high-level terms fosters perception of the more distal future as appropriate for their enactment. Specifically, the studies show that thinking about superordinate "why" (rather than subordinate "how") aspects of actions, about the implications of actions for one's personality (rather than the objects that would be used in performing the action), and about abstract (rather than concrete) aspects of actions leads people to expect the actions to be performed in the more distant future. These results suggest that the association of level of construal and time perspective is bi-directional, in that time perspective affects level of construal and, in addition, level of construal affects time perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Construal level theory
  • Mental construal
  • Temporal distance
  • Time perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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