How much information to sample before making a decision? It's a matter of psychological distance

Vered Halamish, Nira Liberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When facing a decision, people look for relevant information to guide their choice. But how much information do they seek to obtain? Based on Construal Level Theory, we predicted that psychological distance from a decision would make participants seek more information prior to making a decision. Five experiments supported this prediction. When facing a decision between two decks of cards or two urns with marbles, participants preferred to sample more units of information for the purpose of making this decision in the distant future or for a friend (vs. in the near future or for themselves). These results suggest that expanding the scope of sampled experience is yet another way by which psychological distance affects decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation to Nira Liberman (grant No. 92/12) and by the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 51/11). We thank Ido Erev for helpful discussions, and Einat Brainin, Esti Lam, Riki Ranya, Inbal Madmon, Hila Reem, Inbal Feldman, and Noa Bregman for their help with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Construal Level Theory
  • Decision making
  • Learning from experience
  • Psychological distance
  • Sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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