Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Evaluations in their social context: Distance regulates consistency and context dependence

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

When and why do people's likes and dislikes flexibly tune to the current context, and when do they remain consistent? Ideas about flexibility and consistency have permeated the attitude literature throughout its history. Building on the notion that both flexibility and consistency in evaluative responding can be highly functional as well as highly social, this paper considers the role of distance in guiding people's evaluations to incorporate specific and individualized information that helps immerse them in their current social environment, versus broad and general information that helps them reach beyond their current context and relate to things outside of it. Next, the paper reviews research supporting this perspective, focusing on its implications for understanding how people's evaluations help them tune into different aspects of their social environment - those that tend to be specific to a particular context, and those that tend to be consistently encountered across contexts. The described studies suggest that distance regulates susceptibility to specific and general social influences, as well as the extent to which people's evaluations reflect broad and socially shared morals, values, and ideological principles. © 2014 The Authors. Social and Personality Psychology Compass published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item