Construal levels and moral judgment: Some complications

Han Gong*, Douglas L. Medin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Explored how psychological distance influences moral judgment and found that more extreme moral appraisals were given to distal behaviors rather than proximal behaviors. Contrary to Eyal et al., the current paper presents converging evidence showing that moral judgments become more extreme at lowerlevel construals compared to higher-level construals. In four experiments using two different priming techniques, we manipulated construal levels and assessed their effects on moral judgment. High-level consturals elicited less moral outrage toward transgressions and less positive ratings of virtuous behaviors than low-level construals. A replication study was also conducted to reconcile the inconsistencies between the current results and those of Eyal et al. Possible explanations for the different results between two studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-638
Number of pages11
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Construal-level theory
  • Moral judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


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