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
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