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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Nov;91(5):845-56.

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

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


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.

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