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Abstract and concrete self-evaluative goals.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of personality and social psychology
Publication Date
Volume
80
Issue
3
Pages
410–424
Identifiers
PMID: 11300575
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Assuming that people often hold the abstract goal of acquiring accurate feedback but recognize that acquiring favorable feedback can make the self-evaluative process more comfortable, the authors posited that low-level construals (of how action is performed) would elicit greater self-enhancement motivation than would high-level construals (of why action is performed). Individuals chronically using low-level construals had greater interest in downward social comparison (DSC) and less interest in negative feedback (NF; Studies 1 and 3). Decreases in temporal distance (which foster low-level construals) also elicited greater interest in DSC and less interest in NF (Studies 2 and 4). The latter effect was explained by participants' aversion to inconvenience (Study 5) and not by approach-avoidance conflict (Study 6). These results suggest that the level of abstraction at which people construe self-evaluative situations can influence their feedback preferences.

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