Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4372
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4380
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Metaphors occur frequently in literary texts. Deliberate Metaphor Theory (DMT; e.g., Steen, 2017) proposes that metaphors that serve a communicative function metaphor are radically different from metaphors that do not have this function. We investigated differences in processing between deliberate and non-deliberate metaphors, compared to non-metaphorical words in literary reading. Using the Deliberate Metaphor Identification Procedure (Reijnierse et al., 2018), we identified metaphors in two literary stories. Then, eye-tracking was used to investigate participants’ ( = 72) reading behavior. Deliberate metaphors were read slower than non-deliberate metaphors, and both metaphor types were read slower than non-metaphorical words. Differences were controlled for several psycholinguistic variables. Differences in reading behavior were related to individual differences in reading experience and absorption and appreciation of the story. These results are in line with predictions from DMT and underline the importance of distinguishing between metaphor types in the experimental study of literary reading.


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Keyword(s): deliberate metaphor; eye-movements; literary reading; literature; metaphor processing
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