The political impact of metaphors
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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Based on the assumption that extended metaphor may constitute a case of deliberate metaphor and therefore has the potential to influence people’s opinions, this paper investigates whether extending a metaphorical frame in a text leads people to perceive policy measures that are in line with that frame as more effective for solving a crime problem than other policy measures. The metaphorical frames ‘Crime is a virus’ and ‘Crime is a beast’ were extended in one experiment each via a series of additional conventional metaphorical expressions having crime as the target domain and beasts/viruses as the source domain. Participants (N = 354, Experiment 1; N = 361, Experiment 2) were randomly assigned to one of five experimental conditions with increasing numbers of sentences containing metaphorical expressions, and rated the effectiveness of a set of policy measures to solve the crime problem described in the text. The data yield limited support for our hypothesis. When controlling for political affiliation, the ratings for frame-consistent measures trended in the hypothesised direction in Experiment 2. Experiment 1 yielded a trend for frame-inconsistent measures. These results suggest that metaphorical framing effects may be more subtle than has been assumed.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): experiments; framing; framing effects; metaphor; reasoning
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