When and Why Temporal Distance Matters: the Role of Elaboration and Confidence

Kiwan Park, Sungkyunkwan University
Joseph R. Priester, UCLA
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - The Construal Level Theory posits that temporal distance systematically changes the way people construe future events, thereby influencing their evaluations and decisions regarding those events (Liberman and Trope 1998; Trope and Liberman 2000; Liberman et al. 2002). Specifically, the theory postulates that people use more high-level construals to represent distant future events whereas they depend more on low-level construals to represent near future events. High-level construals include more abstract, schematic, and goal-relevant representation of events, whereas low-level construals include more concrete, non-schematic, incidental, and goal-irrelevant representation of events. As such, in goal-directed activities, the Construal Level Theory hypothesizes that goal-relevant features are more influential for distant future events than goal-irrelevant features and that goal irrelevant features are more influential for near future events than goal-relevant features. The Construal Level Theory, however, is silent regarding the boundary conditions under which its explanation works. In this paper, we investigate the question of when the effects predicted by the theory occur. We also intend to investigate psychological process that underlies the effects of temporal distance.
[ to cite ]:
Kiwan Park and Joseph R. Priester (2005) ,"When and Why Temporal Distance Matters: the Role of Elaboration and Confidence", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 524-524.