Construal-level theory and psychological distancing: Implications for grand environmental challenges
School of Arts and Humanities
Research in social and cognitive sciences has used the construal-level theory (CLT) of psychological distance as a framework for understanding environmental challenges, such as climate change. This primer explains how psychological distance and construal level theory can help to understand responses to environmental challenges, from the perceptions and social construction of environmental issues as distant and abstract, to implications for decision making and action toward long-term targets. We also reflect on areas where the theory and concepts are less useful, when assuming that psychological distance and construal level can be easily reduced or altered to promote lasting changes to environmental action.