In a new paper we show that seemingly conflicting results on motivated distance perception can be explained by taking into account the role of affect. More specifically, there have been two sets of findings on distance perception to rewards. On the one hand, Balcetis & Dunning (2010) found that approaching positive objects makes them appear closer, but on the other hand Krpan & Schnall (2014) found that it makes them appear farther. In this new paper we clarify that non-affective approach leads to increased distance perception (Experiment 1), whereas affective approach leads to decreased distance perception to candies (Experiment 2). This also relates to subsequent eating behaviour, such that when candies look farther participants ate more in Experiment 1, but when candies look closer they ate more in Experiment 2. These findings suggest that motivated perception is a complex phenomenon, thus requiring further theoretical analysis and integration.
Krpan, D., & Schnall, S. (2018). Close or far? Affect explains conflicting findings on motivated distance perception to rewards. Acta Psychologica, 190, 188-198.