Effects of Multiple Psychological Distances on Construal Level: A Field Study of Online Reviews

Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming

Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 14-037

27 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2014 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016

See all articles by Ni Huang

Ni Huang

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business

Gordon Burtch

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Yili Hong

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business

Evan Polman

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date Written: March 15, 2016

Abstract

Through a large-scale field study of 166,215 online restaurant reviews, we found evidence of a distance boosting effect, whereby experiencing spatial distance (i.e., authoring a review about a geographically distant restaurant, rather than proximate one) and temporal distance (i.e., authoring a review after a lengthy delay, rather than immediately) amplified consumers’ high-level construals. Although past research has explored the relationship between spatial distance, temporal distance, and construal, these effects have only been considered in isolation (on a notable range of outcomes), yet never in tandem. Our research contributes to past work by testing the effects of experiencing two dimensions of psychological distance simultaneously on construal level, and on a downstream consequence thereof: positivity. Moreover, because our data contain naturalistic observations, our research includes a wide range of temporal and spatial distances. In all, we found that the effect of each distance increases the effect (on construal and positivity) of the other distance. Metaphorically speaking, the effect of one distance is boosted by another.

Keywords: temporal distance; spatial distance; construal level theory; online reviews

Suggested Citation

Huang, Ni and Burtch, Gordon and Hong, Yili and Polman, Evan, Effects of Multiple Psychological Distances on Construal Level: A Field Study of Online Reviews (March 15, 2016). Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming; Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 14-037. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2514962 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2514962

Ni Huang

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3706
United States

Gordon Burtch

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Yili Hong (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3706
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yilihong.github.io/

Evan Polman

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

United States

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