Congenitally Blind do not Comprehend Better I Grasp the Idea than I See the Idea: A Challenge to the Use of Sensory-motor Conceptual Metaphors in the Comprehension of Metaphorical Expressions

Abstract

An experiment was carried out to test the thesis that sensory-motor conceptual metaphors are employed to understand metaphorical expressions. Congenitally blind and sighted participants paraphrased metaphorical expressions derived from the UNDERSTANDING is GRASPING and UNDERSTANDING is SEEING conceptual metaphors, and evaluated to what extent they felt they had understood them. On the one hand, congenitally blind participants did not comprehend better UNDERSTANDING is GRASPING expressions than UNDERSTANDING is SEEING expressions. On the other hand, sighted participants did not comprehend UNDERSTANDING is SEEING expressions better than the blind. The implications of the results for the embodied Conceptual Metaphor Theory of Lakoff and Johnson are discussed.


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