Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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Even though our language is pervaded by metaphor, we do not necessarily think metaphorically. Knowing whether people make conceptual connections between a source and a target domain, and if so under which conditions, is of theoretical as well as practical interest, for example in text design. This paper experimentally investigates under which conditions people build their textual representations of a news article on a metaphorical schema. To disentangle the inconclusive output of recent reaction-time studies, we conduct a memory study. We probe the effect of signaling and conventionality on textual representations — two variables which have been ignored or conflated in previous studies. We find that people are more likely to metaphorically structure their representations of a news article to the extent that it contains novel metaphorical expressions. The inclusion of similes that explicitly signal extended mappings between source and target domains may also act as an aid to integration, although our evidence for this is more equivocal. These findings are discussed in relation to the career of metaphor theory and to the role of deliberateness in metaphor processing.


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