Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-4070
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4097
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Metaphor frames highlight certain aspects of a target domain and deemphasize others, thereby encouraging specific patterns of inference. A recent series of studies ( Reijnierse, Burgers, Krennmayr, & Steen, 2015 ; Steen, Reijnierse, & Burgers, 2014 ), however, raises questions about the role of metaphor in communication and reasoning by (a) failing to find metaphor framing effects on a series of policy judgments, (b) critiquing the methods that have been used to test for metaphor framing effects, and (c) arguing that current theories of metaphor processing fail to consider the social-pragmatic dimension of metaphor in communication. Here, I reflect on these concerns and present novel analyses of data collected by Steen and colleagues, which reveal metaphor framing effects in these studies but fail to support a prediction of Deliberate Metaphor Theory (DMT): that extended metaphors are more likely to be remembered. DMT attempts to situate metaphor framing effects more intentionally along a social-pragmatic dimension; developing and testing the theory was a primary motivation of the studies conducted by Steen and colleagues. I discuss the implications of these findings and offer a perspective on how DMT can help grow our knowledge of the function of metaphor in a social world.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): framing; language; metaphor; pragmatics; reasoning
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