Millis, Keith K.
B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
Department of Psychology
People live in the here and now, although they can think about distal events, places and times. Thinking about distal time, places and people are referred to as psychological distance. Psychological distance is correlated with the level of construal. The level of construal refers to the level of abstractness and concreteness of the mental representation of an idea (e.g., goals, events, places, people, etc). The information that we have stored about the world can also vary on a dimension of concreteness and abstraction. The purpose of this study was to test whether psychological distance mediates the extent that we evaluate the information about the world as being more or less detailed. In the study, people performed a task that has been shown to instill different levels of psychological distance (Liberman & Trope, 1998). In the close condition, participates wrote about what they would do tomorrow. In the far condition, participants wrote about what they would do next year. In a control group, the participants described their favorite hobby. Then all groups rated Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s policy plans and long-term visions of America on measures of construal. People ranked the candidate they were voting for as having lower construal. Not supported was the prediction that psychological distance would affect the ratings of the candidates’ visions for the future.
Hinshaw, Clarissa R., "Construing Clinton and Trump: The Effects of Psychological Distance and Voter Preference" (2017). Honors Capstones. 335.
Northern Illinois University
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