Psychological Distance Increases Conceptual Generalization

Hadar Ram*, Nira Liberman, Christian Unkelbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We predicted and found in three experiments that psychological distance increases conceptual generalization. We manipulated psychological distance by describing a medicine as being either domestic (proximal) or foreign (distal) and examined generalization by testing how information about initial experience (positive vs. negative) with this medicine influences evaluations of similar products. In all three experiments, and across both Israeli and German participants, we found that people generalized from experience with products that are distal (foreign) more than from proximal (domestic) products. We explain the relation between distance and generalization in terms of the accuracy–applicability trade-off inherent in generalization and discuss how it aligns with construal-level theory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • attitude generalization
  • construal-level theory
  • learning from experience
  • psychological distance


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