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Science. 2008 Nov 21;322(5905):1201-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1161958.

The psychology of transcending the here and now.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Post Office Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. niralib@post.tau.ac.il

Abstract

People directly experience only themselves here and now but often consider, evaluate, and plan situations that are removed in time or space, that pertain to others' experiences, and that are hypothetical rather than real. People thus transcend the present and mentally traverse temporal distance, spatial distance, social distance, and hypotheticality. We argue that this is made possible by the human capacity for abstract processing of information. We review research showing that there is considerable similarity in the way people mentally traverse different distances, that the process of abstraction underlies traversing different distances, and that this process guides the way people predict, evaluate, and plan near and distant situations.

PMID:
19023074
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2643344
Free PMC Article

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