The association between psychological distance and construal level: Evidence from an implicit association test. Academic Article uri icon


  • According to construal level theory (N. Liberman, Y. Trope, & E. Stephan, in press; Y. Trope & N.Liberman, 2003), people use a more abstract, high construal level when judging, perceiving, andpredicting more psychologically distal targets, and they judge more abstract targets as being morepsychologically distal. The present research demonstrated that associations between more distance andhigher level of construal also exist on a pure conceptual level. Eight experiments used the ImplicitAssociation Test (IAT; A. G. Greenwald, D. E. McGhee, & J. L. K. Schwartz, 1998) to demonstrate anassociation between words related to construal level (low vs. high) and words related to four dimensionsof distance (proximal vs. distal): temporal distance, spatial distance, social distance, and hypotheticality.In addition to demonstrating an association between level of construal and psychological distance, thesefindings also corroborate the assumption that all 4 dimensions of psychological distance are related tolevelofconstrualinasimilarwayandsupportthenotionthattheyallareformsofpsychologicaldistance.Keywords: psychological distance, construal level theory, abstraction, implicit association test, temporaldistance

publication date

  • January 1, 2006