Distance from a distance: Psychological distance reduces sensitivity to any further psychological distance

Sam J. Maglio, Yaacov Trope, Nira Liberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


What is the difference between far and further? Investigations into such psychological distancing-removal from an egocentric reference point-have suggested similarities between geographical space, time, probability, and social distance. We draw on these similarities to propose that experiencing any kind of distance will reduce sensitivity to any other distance. Nine studies varied the initial distance of an event and assessed sensitivity to a second distance. Consistently, people were less responsive to a given span of distance when it was distal versus proximal. This effect held using each of the four distances as the initial instantiation of distance; it also held using each dimension to assess sensitivity to distance (i.e., as the second distance dimension). These findings suggest that the dimensions of psychological distance share a common, interchangeable meaning and that the cross-dimension difference between far and further is less than that between near and far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-657
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013



  • Decision making
  • Discounting
  • Judgment
  • Psychological distance
  • Valuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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