Something false about conceptual metaphors

Metaphor and Symbol 33 (1):36-47 (2018)
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Abstract

Although Lakoff and Johnson’s Conceptual Metaphor Theory has been influential across many disciplines, little research has tested the psychological reality of conceptual metaphors using established experimental memory paradigms. Here we employ an episodic memory task based on the Deese-Roediger-McDermott false memory paradigm to explore this possibility. We find that after reading lists of sentences based on underlying conceptual metaphors that participants are more likely to falsely remember the nonpresented conceptual metaphors themselves as well as new sentences consistent with the CM mapping than control items that do not share this mapping. This finding provides experimental support for conceptual metaphors and highlights the utility of using episodic tasks to explore the assumptions of this theory.

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