The Distinct Affective Consequences of Psychological Distance and Construal Level

Much of the existing literature on psychological distance has focused on cognitive outcomes, such as changes in construal level, largely framing affective processes out of the discussion. The current research examines the distinct influences of psychological distance and construal level on affect-based evaluation. In a first set of experiments, psychological distance (vs. closeness) reduces the intensity of felt affect, while abstract (vs. concrete) thinking increases the positivity of one’s thoughts. In a second set of experiments, psychological distance improves evaluations of negative experiences by reducing the intensity of negative affect but hurts evaluations of positive experiences by reducing the intensity of positive affect. By contrast, abstract thinking increases positivity, improving evaluations for both positive and negative experiences alike. These findings have implications for marketing communication strategy and existing theories of psychological distance.

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APA-Format Citation

Williams, L. E., Stein, R., & Galguera, L. (2013). The distinct affective consequences of psychological distance and construal level. Journal of Consumer Research40(6), 1123-1138.