Viewing Time Through the Lens of the Self: The Fit Effect of Self-Construal and Temporal Distance on Task Perception
European Journal of Social Psychology, Forthcoming
41 Pages Posted: 22 May 2010
Date Written: April 30, 2010
This paper describes how different self-construals influence people’s perception of temporal distance and in turn their task evaluation. We hypothesize that people with a more accessible interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal perceive future events as temporally more proximal, and that people’s reaction toward a task is intensified when the temporal distance to the task matches (vs. mismatches) their self-construal. Across four studies, we showed that individuals with a more accessible interdependent self-construal (Study 1) and East Asians (Study 2) perceived future events as more proximal than those with a more accessible independent self-construal and European Americans. Further, when considering a task at a temporal distance that fits their self-construal, individuals perceived a pleasant task as more motivating (Study 3) and an unpleasant task as less motivating (Study 4).
Keywords: Regulatory Fit, Self-Construal, Temporal Distance, Motivation, Culture, Time
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