The conceptualization of personality

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In this chapter, I present observations of recurrent motifs and metaphors in literature that point to a culturally conventionalized idea of the heart as the seat of emotions and personality. A corpus study shows that this is not only a phenomenon of literary language, but also a systematically and frequently used metaphor in everyday language. Finally, the results of a questionnaire study suggest that this linguistic mapping is not a reflection of a “folk model” of human personality. I conclude that the relation between metaphors and folk models is more complex than sometimes assumed, and that approaches and methods from different disciplines have to be combined in order to understand connections between art, language, culture, and folk beliefs.


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