Psychological distance: How to make climate change less abstract and closer to the self

Paul A.M. Van Lange*, Anna L. Huckelba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Scientists have been warning the world of the threatening consequences of climate change for decades. Yet, only a few countries have made climate change mitigation a priority. One of the chief issues regarding climate change is its abstractness: consequences for the collective in the long-term are much more abstract than consequences for the self in the here-and-now. To combat climate change, individuals, communities, and governments must work together to reduce the psychological distance of climate change and designate the future of the planet as the prime concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Early online date1 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article is supported by a grant from the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI) to the first author at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Climate change
  • Psychological distance
  • Social dilemma
  • Temporal dilemma


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