Comparison, Categorization, and Metaphor Comprehension

Abstract

One of the prevailing questions in current metaphor research has been whether and to what extent conventionality of a metaphor influences its processing. The career of metaphor hypothesis (Bowdle & Gentner, 2005; Gentner & Bowdle, 2001) suggests that conventional metaphors are processed through categorization whereas novel ones are processed through comparison. The dual reference theory (Glucksberg & Haught, 2006a, 2006b), on the other hand, proposes that it is the grammatical form of a figurative statement that determines how it will be processed. More specifically, metaphors which share the grammatical form of literal categorizations are processed through categorization and similes which share the grammatical form of literal comparisons are processed through comparison. The present study investigated the claims of these theories and found support for the career of metaphor hypothesis by showing that conventional figurative statements appeared to be processed through categorization whereas novel statements appeared to be processed through comparison.


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