The Role of Feasibility and Desirability Considerations in near and Distant Future Decisions: A Test of Temporal Construal Theory

Temporal construal theory states that distant future situations are construed on a higher level than near future situations. Accordingly, the theory suggests that the value associated with the high-level construal is enhanced over delay and that the value associated with the low-level construal is discounted over delay. In goal-directed activities, desirability of the activity’s end state represents a high-level construal, whereas the feasibility of attaining this end state represents a low-level construal. Study 1 found that distant future activities were construed on a higher level than near future activities. Studies 2 and 3 showed that decisions regarding distant future activities were more influenced by the desirability of the end state and less influenced by the feasibility of attaining the end state. Study 4 presented students with a real-life choice of academic assignments varying in difficulty and interest. In choosing a distant future assignment, students placed relatively more weight on the assignment’s interest, whereas in choosing a near future assignment, they placed relatively more weight on difficulty. Study 5 found that distant future plans, compared with near future plans, were related to desirability of activities rather than to time constraints.

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APA-Format Citation

Liberman, N., & Trope, Y. (1998). The role of feasibility and desirability considerations in near and distant future decisions: A test of temporal construal theory. Journal of personality and social psychology, 75(1), 5.