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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Dec;79(6):876-89.

Temporal construal and time-dependent changes in preference.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, New York University, New York 10003, USA.


Five studies tested the predictions of temporal construal theory and time-discounting theories regarding evaluation of near future and distant future options (outcomes, activities, products). The options had abstract or goal-relevant features (called high-level construal features) as well as more concrete or goal-irrelevant features (called low-level construal features). The studies varied the valence (positive vs. negative) and the type of valence (affective vs. cognitive) of the low-level and high-level construal features. The results show that the weight of high-level construal features, compared with the weight of low-level construal features, is greater in determining distant future preferences than near future preferences. The implications of the results for extant theories of time-dependent changes in preference are discussed.

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