An Examination of the Processes by Which Construal Level Affects the Implicit Evaluation of Goal Relevant Stimuli

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Abstract

Previous research has found that construal level—how abstractly or concretely people represent events—can impact implicit evaluations. Abstract high-level construal (vs. concrete low-level construal) promotes evaluative responses consistent with global (strongly held, long-term) rather than local (short-term, situational) goals. It remains unclear by what cognitive process(es) this occurs. In this paper, we examine two possibilities. High-level construal might enhance the unintended influence of activated evaluative associations or facilitate the detection and implementation of intentional responses. To examine these possibilities, the current study applies a multinomial processing tree model to data from Fujita and Han (2009). Results suggest that high-level construal facilitates goal-consistent evaluations by increasing both the unintentional influence of activated goal-consistent positive associations and the intentional detection of and implementation of accurate responding to goal-relevant stimuli. These findings extend our understanding of how construal level promotes goal consistent evaluations.

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