Near-Far Bias (Construal-Level Theory)

Robin Hanson has written much over the last few months on ‘construal-level theory‘ (also known as the near-far bias) and I’ve been slowly following along, taking notes.

The theory, according to Wikipedia, “describes the relation between psychological distance and how abstract an object is represented in someone’s mind. The general idea is that the more distant an object is from the individual the more abstract it will be thought of, while the opposite relation between closeness and concreteness is true as well”.

In a recent post, Hanson provides a summary of construal-level theory findings and produced this useful image to indicate and compare what lies where on the near-far scale:

Near-Far Bias Summary from Overcoming Bias

I can’t help but think how this can be used to persuade others, with both near and far being useful, depending on your specific situation.