Effects of Multiple Psychological Distances on Construal Level: A Field Study of Online Reviews
Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2014 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016
Date Written: March 15, 2016
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
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