Mental Traveling Along Psychological Distances : The Effects of Cultural Syndromes, Perspective Flexibility, and Construal Level

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17–33
Journal / PublicationJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


Individuals’ psychological distance from the stimuli they encounter in daily life can influence the abstractness or generality of the mental representations they form of these stimuli. However, these representations can also depend on the perspective from which the stimuli are construed. When individuals have either an individualistic social orientation or a short-term temporal orientation, they construe psychologically distal events more globally than they construe proximal ones, as implied by construal level theory (Trope & Liberman, 2010). When they have either a collectivistic social orientation or a long-term temporal orientation, however, they not only construe the implications of distal events more concretely than individuals with an egocentric perspective but also construe the implications of proximal events in more abstract terms. These effects are mediated by the flexibility of the perspectives that people take when they make judgments. Differences in perspective flexibility account for the impact of both situationally induced differences in social and temporal orientation and more chronic cultural differences in these orientations.

Research Area(s)

  • individualism/collectivism, short-/long-term orientation, perspective flexibility, psychological distance, construal level

Citation Format(s)