The effect of temporal distance on level of mental construal

Nira Liberman, Michael D. Sagristano, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four studies examined the prediction of construal level theory that the more distant future events would be construed in higher-level, more abstract, apd simple terms. Objects were categorized into broader categories when they pertained to distant future situations than to near future situations (Study 1). Positive and negative experiences in the more distant future were expected to be more prototypical-less variable and more extreme (Study 2). More distant future coping experiences were expected to be less variable (Study 3). Preferences for events and activities that were expected in the distant future were organized around simpler structures than preferences for the same events when they were expected in the near future (Study 4). These results support the principle of temporal construal, according to which the more distant future is represented in a more schematic, abstract, and coherent way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-534
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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