Thursday, December 23, 2010

Over the Hills and Far Away: The Link Between Physical Distance and Abstraction

Marlone D. Henderson and Cheryl J. Wakslak

Current Directions in Psychological Science 2010 19: 390

Construal level theory posits a bidirectional relationship between physical (geographical) distance and levels of mental representation, whereby larger magnitudes of distance trigger higher levels of mental representation and higher levels of mental representation increase perceptions of distance. In the current article, we review research that supports a construal level theory approach to physical distance. After briefly describing the basic tenets of construal level theory, we review factors that influence perceptions of distance in physical space as well as effects of physical distance on mental representation, judgment, and behavior that are consistent with this framework. We close by discussing future directions to be explored.

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