The effects of time perspective and level of construal on social distance

Elena Stephan, Nira Liberman, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychological causes of social distance were examined from the perspective of Construal Level Theory (CLT; Liberman, Trope, & Stephan, 2007), which predicts that temporal distance from and abstract construal of a social target would create perception of social distance. Our studies demonstrate that expectations for temporally remote (versus proximal) social interaction produce greater social distance from a target person, measured as reduced familiarity (Study 1) and as reduced similarity to the self (Study 2). We also show that a more abstract, higher level construal of a social target results in less familiarity (Study 3) and in less allocation of resources (Study 4). The research sheds light on how social closeness can be promoted or hindered by previously unaddressed psychological factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-402
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Level of construal
  • Social distance
  • Temporal perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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