Transcending the "here": The effect of spatial distance on social judgment

Marlone D. Henderson*, Kentaro Fujita, Yaacov Trope, Nira Liberman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Construal level theory proposes that increasing the reported spatial distance of events produces judgments that reflect abstract, schematic representations of the events. Across 4 experiments, the authors examined the impact of spatial distance on construal-dependent social judgments. Participants structured behavior into fewer, broader units (Study 1) and increasingly attributed behavior to enduring dispositions rather than situational constraints (Study 2) when the behavior was spatially distant rather than near. Participants reported that typical events were more likely and atypical events less likely when events were more spatially distant (Study 3). They were also less likely to extrapolate from specific cases that deviated from general trends when making predictions about more spatially distant events (Study 4). Implications for social judgment are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-856
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2006


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Mental HealthR01MH059030


    • Abstraction
    • Construal
    • Events
    • Extrapolation
    • Psychological distance
    • Schematic representations
    • Social judgments
    • Spatial distance
    • Unitization


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