Morality and psychological distance: A construal level theory perspective.

Tal Eyal, Nira Liberman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we explore the possibility that values and moral principles are more prominent in judgments and predictions regarding psychologically more distant events. This perspective is based on construal level theory (CLT; Liberman & Trope, 2008; Trope & Liberman, 2010), according to which the construal of psychologically more distant situations highlights their abstract, higher level features. Because values and moral rules tend to be abstract and general, people are more likely to use them in construing, judging, and planning with respect to psychologically more distant situations. In this chapter, we present the basic assumptions of CLT and explain how they apply to values and moral principles. We then discuss research examining how psychological distance affects (a) judgments of moral and immoral acts, (b) value-based plans, and (c) value-based persuasion. We also examine novel predictions of CLT with respect to the place of values and principles in people’s lives. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe social psychology of morality: Exploring the causes of good and evil.
EditorsMario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver
Place of PublicationWashington, DC, US
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781433810114
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameHerzliya series on personality and social psychology.


  • Morality
  • Theories
  • Values
  • Psychological Distance
  • Judgment
  • Prediction


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