Values as Predictors of Judgments and Behaviors: The Role of Abstract and Concrete Mindsets

Carlos J. Torelli, Andrew M. Kaikati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research makes strides toward reconciling mixed findings in the value-behavior relation by positing that values are abstract representations of ideal end states that are more likely to influence behavior when individuals think abstractly (vs. concretely) and focus on high- (vs. low-) level motivations for interpreting their actions. In 6 experiments, the authors measured the importance of values (or made them salient via a priming procedure) and simultaneously manipulated accessible mindsets (abstract vs. concrete), and assessed their effect on judgments and behaviors. An abstract (and not a concrete) mindset led participants to engage in judgments or behaviors that were consistent with a broad range of values, including power, benevolence, universalism, self-direction, individualism, and collectivism. These results support the notion that values are more likely to be expressed through value-congruent judgments and behaviors when individuals think abstractly about their actions, and not when they think concretely. Two of the experiments examined the process underlying these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-247
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • behavior
  • mindsets
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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