Construal levels and self-control

Kentaro Fujita*, Yaacov Trope, Nira Liberman, Maya Levin-Sagi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors propose that self-control involves making decisions and behaving in a manner consistent with high-level versus low-level construals of a situation. Activation of high-level construals (which capture global, superordinate, primary features of an event) should lead to greater self-control than activation of low-level construals (which capture local, subordinate, secondary features). In 6 experiments using 3 different techniques, the authors manipulated construal levels and assessed their effects on self-control and underlying psychological processes. High-level construals led to decreased preferences for immediate over delayed outcomes, greater physical endurance, stronger intentions to exert self-control, and less positive evaluations of temptations that undermine self-control. These results support a construal-level analysis of self-control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-367
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Mental HealthR01MH059030


    • Mental construal
    • Preference reversals
    • Self-control
    • Self-regulation


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