Moral concerns are greater for temporally distant events and are moderated by value strength
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Social Cognition
He present research examines the impact of temporal distance on moral concerns in situations where selfish motives clash with altruistic considerations. Drawing upon Construal Level Theory (Trope & Liberman, 2003) which posits that abstract, high-level features of events and social values take on more weight with greater temporal distance, we hypothesized that moral concerns should be higher for temporally distant situations. The results from five experiments supported this conjecture. People indicated they would be more likely to choose altruistic over selfish behaviors, reported they would feel more guilty about engaging in selfish behavior, thought acting selfishly would be more immoral, and were more likely to commit to altruistic behavior when thinking about distant versus near future events. Moreover, as predicted, temporal distance primarily enhanced moral concerns among individuals with high moral value strength. Support was also obtained in favor of the assumption that value salience was responsible for the temporal distance effect on moral concerns. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.