Distance makes the mind grow broader: an overview of physiological distance studies in the environmental and health domains

Anouk Griffioen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Environmental and health issues are two of the most pressing issues society faces today. People often view both environmental and health issues as psychologically distant: they believe that the problems will occur in the future, to other people, in other places and that the exact outcomes are uncertain. This paper provides an overview of studies that have investigated how the different psychological distance dimensions (viz., temporal, spatial, social and hypothetical) influence perceptions, intentions, and decision making in the environmental and health domains. This overview suggests that psychological distance indeed matters in both domains. There are indications that threat perceptions are mostly hightened when communicated or perceived as being psychologically close. However, the studies also show that a mere increase in perceived threat does not necessarily alter intentions or behavior. Moreover, with regard to the effects of psychological dimensions. We discuss possible moderators that may explain the range of findings. Finally, we conclude with discussing the current stance of the literature and discuss specific research topics that are yet to be studied. As environmental and health behavior involve more than just one decision or one behavior, we suggest, for example, that future studies should investigate how psychological distance influences not only the target behavior, but related behavior as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
JournalAPSTRACT: Applied Studies in Agribusiness and Commerce
Volume10
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • psychological distance
  • environment
  • health
  • Construal Level Theory

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