Attention to Metaphor

From neurons to representations

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The last decades of the twentieth century have witnessed a fundamental scientific discovery: the identification of mirror neurons and, consequently, the development of the Embodied Simulation theory. Neuroscientific data on the mechanism of Embodied Simulation and its role in conceptual and linguistic processing, figurative language included, have stimulated a great deal of research on the embodied nature of conceptual metaphors. However, the very definition of the notions of body and embodiment are today still controversial in the Embodied Cognition debate. This book addresses the issue of the specific contribution of the body to conceptual and linguistic processing and provides a new definition for the mechanism of Embodied Simulation. In this light, and in consideration of a revision of the contemporary theory of metaphor recently introduced by Gerard Steen, who distinguished between deliberate and non-deliberate metaphor processing, the book also proposes a new model of metaphor processing that brings together the mechanism of Embodied Simulation, on the one hand, and the notion of deliberateness on the other. Modulation of attention during linguistic processing is a key component in explaining how they interact.

Potential readers of the book include linguists, psychologists, philosophers and any other cognitive scientists and communication scientists piqued by the topic of metaphor and embodiment.

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