My fair future self: The role of temporal distance and self-enhancement in prediction

Elena Stephan*, Constantine Sedikides, Daniel Heller, Daniella Shidlovski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information people rely on when making self-predictions may be influenced by temporal distance and the self-enhancement motive. We proposed, drawing from Construal Level Theory, that temporally distant (vs. near) predictions reflect the "gist" self-attributes, rather than other attributes ("noise"). Based on the self-enhancement literature, positive (vs. negative) attributes will be perceived as the "gist." In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that positive attributes are more prominent in distant predictions. Distant (compared to near) predictions reflect the "gist" attributes, are more positive and confident (Study 1). Such predictions rely on positive (rather than negative) attributes (Study 2). Distant predictions reflect a greater better-than-average effect, better ratings on positive (and not-as-bad on negative) attributes in comparison to peers (Study 3). These tendencies hold true for individuals with varying levels of self-esteem (Studies 1, 3). The studies suggest that temporal distance and motivation to enhance the favorability of self-concept both influence prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-168
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'My fair future self: The role of temporal distance and self-enhancement in prediction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this