The psychology of transcending the here and now

Nira Liberman, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

People directly experience only themselves here and now but often consider, evaluate, and plan situations that are removed in time or space, that pertain to others' experiences, and that are hypothetical rather than real. People thus transcend the present and mentally traverse temporal distance, spatial distance, social distance, and hypotheticality. We argue that this is made possible by the human capacity for abstract processing of information. We review research showing that there is considerable similarity in the way people mentally traverse different distances, that the process of abstraction underlies traversing different distances, and that this process guides the way people predict, evaluate, and plan near and distant situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1205
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume322
Issue number5905
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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