Vertical position is associated with construal level and psychological distance

Ravit Nussinson, Yaron Elias, Einat Yosef-Nitzan, Sari Mentser, Maya Zadka, Zohar Weinstein, Nira Liberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent findings suggest that stimulus construal level (high vs. low) is mentally associated with its vertical position (up vs. down). We delve deeper into this association and its meanings, and examine, for the first time, its complementary association, that of stimulus psychological distance (distant vs. close) and its vertical position (up vs. down). In Study 1 and 2 goals of activities were positioned higher than the means of performing them and were perceived as more compatible with a spatially higher viewpoint. In Study 3, self-perceptions were more invariant when items were presented at the top (vs. the bottom) of a visual display. In Study 4, participants positioned imagination-related concepts above reality-related concepts. In Study 5, participants provided more distant time estimates for scenarios presented at the top (vs. the bottom) of a display. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-655
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Israel Science Foundation grant 359/16. The authors declare that there are no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. We are grateful to Ido Liviatan for his advice, and to Eshchar Haiman, Yifat Weiss and Hagar Manor for their assistance in this work. We are grateful to Meira Ben-Gad for her invaluable assistance in copyediting.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Guilford Publications, Inc.


  • Construal level
  • Psychological distance
  • Vertical position


Dive into the research topics of 'Vertical position is associated with construal level and psychological distance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this