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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Aug;97(2):203-16. doi: 10.1037/a0015671.

Distancing from experienced self: how global-versus-local perception affects estimation of psychological distance.

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Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


In 4 studies, the authors examined the prediction derived from construal level theory (CLT) that higher level of perceptual construal would enhance estimated egocentric psychological distance. The authors primed participants with global perception, local perception, or both (the control condition). Relative to the control condition, global processing made participants estimate larger psychological distances in time (Study 1), space (Study 2), social distance (Study 3), and hypotheticality (Study 4). Local processing had the opposite effect. Consistent with CLT, all studies show that the effect of global-versus-local processing did emerge when participants estimated egocentric distances, which are distances from the experienced self in the here and now, but did not emerge with temporal distances not from now (Study 1), spatial distances not from here (Study 2), social distances not from the self (Study 3), or hypothetical events that did not involve altering an experienced reality (Study 4).

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