Construal Level Theory (CLT) of Psychological Distance 

People experience only the here-and-now, and yet they care about things that are psychologically distal – things that will happen in the future or have happened in the past, in other places, to other people, and hypothetical rather than real things. I seek to understand how people navigate between proximal and distal concerns: How distance from an object changes the way it is mentally represented and subjectively evaluated; how proximal decisions differ from distal ones; how motivation changes with proximity to a goal; and what makes people expand versus contract their mental horizons.   Construal Level Theory suggests that abstraction enables traversing of psychological distance. The basic questions of what is psychological distance, what is abstraction and how they are related has been the focus of my research over the years. In addition, my lab addressed and continues to address more specific questions, for example, how psychological distance affects working memory, social comparison, embodied representation, attitude-behavior correspondence, moral reasoning, and intensity of motivation.

Key publications on CLT