Representation Over Time: The Effects of Temporal Distance on Similarity

10 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2011  

Daniel M. Bartels

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Samuel B Day

Northwestern University

Date Written: October 4, 2011

Abstract

Similarity is central in human cognition, playing a role in a wide range of cognitive processes. In three studies, we demonstrate that subjective similarity may change as a function of temporal distance, with some events seeming more similar when considered in the near future, while others increase in similarity as temporal distance increases. Given the ubiquity of inter-temporal thought, and the fundamental role of similarity, these results have important implications for cognition in general.

Keywords: Similarity, Mental representation, Construal level theory, Inter-temporal choice

Suggested Citation

Bartels, Daniel M. and Day, Samuel B, Representation Over Time: The Effects of Temporal Distance on Similarity (October 4, 2011). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 11-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1938500 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1938500

Daniel M. Bartels (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Samuel B Day

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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