Psychological Distance and Group Judgments: The Effect of Physical Distance on Beliefs About Common Goals

The present research examined the consequences of physical distance on beliefs about common goals, which have been implicated in judgments of entitativeness (“groupness”) of social entities. A central feature of task groups is the degree to which its members are driven by common goals. According to construal level theory, as stimuli are removed psychologically (e.g., physically), people construe stimuli in more abstract terms, focusing more on central features of stimuli. Adopting this framework, four studies demonstrated that people are more likely to assume the behavior of task group members is driven by common goals for physically distant rather than near groups. This effect occurred when perceived identification and similarity to others were held constant. Implications for intergroup relations are discussed.

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APA-Format Citation

Henderson, M. D. (2009). Psychological distance and group judgments: The effect of physical distance on beliefs about common goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(10), 1330-1341.