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

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Lee, Sujin and Lee, Angela Y. and Kern, Mary (Molly) C., Viewing Time Through the Lens of the Self: The Fit Effect of Self-Construal and Temporal Distance on Task Perception (April 30, 2010). European Journal of Social Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1613127

Sujin Lee (Contact Author)

KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Daejeon 305-701
Korea

Angela Y. Lee

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Mary (Molly) C. Kern

Baruch College ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-240
New York, NY 10010
United States
646.312.3673 (Phone)

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