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Similar psychological distance reduces temporal discounting.



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Kim, Hyunji 
White, Mathew P 


People often prefer inferior options in the present even when options in the future are more lucrative. Five studies investigated whether decision making could be improved by manipulating construal level and psychological distance. In Studies 1a, 1b, and 2, temporal discounting was reduced when future rewards (trips to Paris) were construed at a relatively concrete level, thus inducing a similar level of construal to present rewards. By contrast, Studies 3 and 4 reduced temporal discounting by making present financial rewards more psychologically distant via a social proximity manipulation, and thus linked to a similar high level of construal as future rewards. These results suggest that people prefer the more lucrative option when comparing two intertemporal choices that are construed on a similar level instead of on a different level. Thus, changes in construal level and mental representations can be used to promote more desirable choices in economic decision making.



construal level theory, economic decision making, intertemporal choice, psychological distance, temporal discounting, Adult, Decision Making, Female, Humans, Male, Reward, Time Factors

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Pers Soc Psychol Bull

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SAGE Publications