Construal Level and Procrastination

According to Construal Level Theory, events that are distant in time tend to be represented more abstractly than are events that are close in time. This mental association between level of abstractness and temporal distance is proposed to be a bi-directional relationship, such that level of representation of the event should also have effects on the time of activity enactment.In the present studies, participants were asked to respond to a questionnaire via email within three weeks. The questionnaire was designed to induce either an abstract or a concrete construal. Using a variety of manipulations of construal level, the studies supported the predictions of CLT. Individuals were less likely to procrastinate the task when it induced a more concrete construal. Furthermore, this effect did not depend on the attractiveness, importance, or perceived difficulty of the task.

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APA-Format Citation

McCrea, S. M., Liberman, N., Trope, Y., & Sherman, S. J. (2008). Construal level and procrastination. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1308-1314.