Viewing time through the lens of the self: The fit effect of self-construal and temporal distance on task perception

Sujin Lee*, Angela Y. Lee, Mary C. Kern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

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). The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. C. S. Lewis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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