The effect of distance-dependent construals on schema-driven impression formation

Tal Eyal, Gina M. Hoover, Kentaro Fujita, Shiri Nussbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments examine how distance-dependent construal can affect trait aggregation in impression formation. We propose that, because higher- versus lower-level construals promote the tendency to impose schematic structure on information processing, higher-level construals should enhance schema-driven trait aggregation. We test this by examining a classic impression formation phenomenon: the primacy effect (Asch, 1946). Increasing temporal distance (Study 1a) and priming higher-level construals (Study 1b) led participants to form more favorable impressions of targets described initially as intelligent versus envious. Decreasing temporal distance and priming lower-level construals, in contrast, reversed the primacy effect. Thus, the distance of a target, with its associated construal, can impact the aggregation of traits and consequently impacts people's evaluations of others.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)278-281
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Construal level
  • Impression formation
  • Primacy effect
  • Schematic processing
  • Temporal distance
  • Trait aggregation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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