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The Keats heuristic: Rhyme as reason in aphorism interpretation

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Do people distinguish between the form and propositional content of a statement when evaluating its truthfulness? We asked people to judge the comprehensibility and ostensible accuracy of unfamiliar aphorisms presented in their original rhyming form (e.g., Woes unite foes) or a semantically equivalent non-rhyming form (Woes unite enemies). Although the different versions were perceived as equally comprehensible, the rhyming versions were perceived as more accurate. This ‘rhyme as reason’ effect suggests that in certain circumstances, people may base their judgments of a statement's truth value in part on its aesthetic qualities. Our results are consistent with models of persuasion which assume that people rely on heuristic cues to evaluate messages when they lack the evidence and/or motivation to scrutinize message content (e.g., Eagly and Chaiken, 1993).

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... Unfortunately, however, the extent to which these kinds of poetic elements serve as peripheral cues has not yet been the subject of much empirical investigation. The best studied appears to be a "that which rhymes is true" heuristic, described in the literature as the "rhyme as reason" heuristic (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000 or the Keats heuristic, after Keats's observation that "beauty is truth, truth beauty" (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999). In this research, McGlone & Tofighbakhsh (1999) showed that rhyme appears to grant a phrase an air of validity, even when the phrase is unfamiliar. ...
... Unfortunately, however, the extent to which these kinds of poetic elements serve as peripheral cues has not yet been the subject of much empirical investigation. The best studied appears to be a "that which rhymes is true" heuristic, described in the literature as the "rhyme as reason" heuristic (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000 or the Keats heuristic, after Keats's observation that "beauty is truth, truth beauty" (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999). In this research, McGlone & Tofighbakhsh (1999) showed that rhyme appears to grant a phrase an air of validity, even when the phrase is unfamiliar. ...
... The best studied appears to be a "that which rhymes is true" heuristic, described in the literature as the "rhyme as reason" heuristic (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000 or the Keats heuristic, after Keats's observation that "beauty is truth, truth beauty" (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999). In this research, McGlone & Tofighbakhsh (1999) showed that rhyme appears to grant a phrase an air of validity, even when the phrase is unfamiliar. When unfamiliar proverbs were presented in both their original rhyming form and a semantically-equivalent non-rhyming form (e.g., "Men should first thrive before they wive" and "Men should first thrive before they marry"), the rhyming versions were rated as more accurate even though the non-rhyming versions were rated as equally comprehensible-and even though raters showed no conscious insight into their tendency to rate rhyming versions as more valid. ...
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Although proverbs resemble clichés in the broad sense of being common fixed-form phrases, and have been considered to be clichés by some scholars, proverbs are not prototypically cliché in other ways. Most importantly, whereas clichés are generally presumed to tarnish communicative efforts, the invocation of proverbs may often be an effective rhetorical act. It is here proposed that whether a particular text, in this case a proverb, is perceived as cliché may depend as much on contextual factors surrounding the performance of the text as on the familiarity of the text itself. The Elaboration Likelihood Model, which grew out of the persuasion literature in social psychology, describes two different routes to persuasion. Analysis with respect to the ELM suggests that proverb performances may be successful either because they provide useful arguments (i.e., by way of the central route) or because they exploit any of a number of heuristic truth cues (i.e., by way of the peripheral route); in either case, a successful performance is unlikely to be deemed cliché. Proverb performances that fail, however, may be deemed cliché—either because the arguments they present fail or because heuristic cues (e.g., their commonness) result in rejection of the message without consideration of its merits. The likelihood of these outcomes, though, may depend as much on the type of processing used by the audience as it does on the invocation of the proverbial text itself.
... Since this effect is not confined to rhyme, "the Keats heuristic" (McGlone and Tofighbakhsh 1999) is a better descriptor, honouring the poet who formulated this very concise (and aesthetically appealing and seemingly accurate) encapsulation of the heuristic. Over the last two decades, empirical work has confirmed associations between aesthetics and credibility (Robins & Holmes, 2007;Tuch et al., 2012), perceptions of accuracy (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999;McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 2000), and a general sense of moral goodness (Dion et al., 1972). Why might objective judgments of morality and truth be biased by the seemingly irrelevant factor of aesthetics? ...
... For example, manipulations of processing fluency have been shown to influence judgments of truth (Reber & Unkelbach, 2010;Unkelbach, 2007), familiarity (Arkes et al., 1989;Bacon, 1979;Begg et al., 1992;Dechêne et al., 2010), and aesthetic pleasure (Anglada-Tort et al., 2019;Babel & McGuire, 2015;Reber et al., 2004;Winkielman et al., 2006), with fluently processed stimuli being judged as more accurate, familiar, and beautiful. Similarly, stylistic devices (e.g., rhyme) have been shown to both increase peoples' comprehension of a text as well as their perception of its accuracy (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999). For example, McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (2000) compared participants' accuracy ratings of unfamiliar rhyming aphorisms (e.g., "Woes unite foes") with semantically equivalent non-rhyming 1 phrases (e.g., "Woes unite enemies"), finding that rhyming aphorisms were perceived as more accurate compared to their semantically equivalent non-rhyming counterparts. ...
... While it is becoming increasingly clear that subtle linguistic changes can bias a wide array of judgments, including but not limited to judgments of truth (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000, morality (Fausey & Boroditsky, 2010;Walker et al., 2021), and aesthetics (Belke et al., 2010), the influence of many stylistic devices remains unexamined, particularly beyond the phonological level. An especially interesting example of a rhetorical figure is that of chiasmus, in which at least (and most often only) two linguistic constituents are repeated in reverse order in proximal clauses or phrases (Baldrick, 2008), following an A-B-B-A pattern. ...
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The Keats heuristic suggests that people find aesthetically pleasing expressions more accurate than mundane expressions. We test this notion with chiastic statements. Chiasmus is a stylistic phenomenon in which at least two linguistic constituents are repeated in reverse order, following an A-B-B-A pattern. Our study focuses on the specific form of chiasmus known as antimetabole, in which the reverse-repeated constituents are words (e.g., “all for one and one for all”). In 3 out of 4 experiments (N = 797), we find evidence that people judge antimetabolic statements (e.g., “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”) as more accurate than semantically equivalent non-antimetabolic statements (e.g., “Success is getting what you wish. Happiness is wanting what you receive.”). Furthermore, we evaluate fluency as a potential mechanism explaining the observed accuracy benefit afforded to antimetabolic statements, finding that the increased speed (i.e., fluency) with which antimetabolic statements were processed was misattributed by participants as evidence of greater accuracy. Overall, the current work demonstrates that stylistic factors bias assessments of truth, with information communicated using aesthetically pleasing stylistic devices (e.g., antimetabole) being perceived as more truthful.
... In the context of fluency research, the effect of rhymes was so far investigated only in aphorisms. McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (1999Tofighbakhsh ( , 2000) compared original rhyming aphorisms (e.g., " What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals " ) with their modified non-rhyming counterparts ( " What sobriety conceals, alcohol unmasks " ). The participants rated the rhyming aphorisms as significantly more accurate than those which did not rhyme; however, when directly asked to compare the accuracy of rhyming versus non-rhyming aphorisms, they did not acknowledge any difference. ...
... Thus, they proved to be unaware that the form affected their attitude towards the content of the statement. McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (1999Tofighbakhsh ( , 2000) suppose that it is due to the fluency heuristic that existing (yet little known) rhyming aphorisms were perceived in their study as more truthful than the artificially created non-rhyming counterparts . They argued that also Nietzsche (1986[1882], pp. ...
... 139–140) once noted that " we sometimes consider an idea truer simply because it has a metrical form and presents itself with a divine skip and jump. " McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (1999Tofighbakhsh ( , 2000 ) used existing rhyming aphorisms and compared them with their artificially created non-rhyming counterparts; they have never created rhyming equivalents to existing non-rhyming aphorisms. 4 Participants might have preferred the rhyming aphorisms because they subconsciously associated them with the condensed wisdom of the ages, since many famous and widely used aphorisms actually rhyme (e.g., " A friend in need is a friend indeed " ; " Birds of a feather flock together " ). ...
Article
This study investigated the rhyme-as-reason effect on new artificially created advertising slogans. Rhymes and non-rhymes were in Experiment 1 and 2 compared in a between-subjects design and in Experiment 3 in a within-subjects design. The quality of the form and content of the slogans was always evaluated by separate groups. In Experiment 1, we found a strong preference for rhyming slogans as opposed to their non-rhyming counterparts. Rhymes were rated as more likeable, more original, easier to remember, more suitable for campaigns, more persuasive and more trustworthy. In Experiment 2, social advertising messages were evaluated favorably in both rhyming and non-rhyming versions. However, when participants directly compared rhymes and non-rhymes on the same scale (Experiment 3), the difference between commercial and social advertising disappeared and for all slogans rhymes were clearly preferred to non-rhymes in terms of both form and content. A detailed analysis revealed that the rhymes scoring high on formal aspects were also favored in the questionnaire investigating content aspects.
... We suggest that the facilitating 47 effects of a combination of rhyme, meter, and rhetorical brevitas on perceptual (prosodic) fluency over-48 compensated for their adverse effects on conceptual (semantic) fluency, thus resulting in a total net gain 49 both in processing ease and in choices for persuasive purposes. Available evidence suggests that, comparable to findings in 56 other art domains, rhetorical and poetic language enhance ease 57 of processing in some cases (e.g., Kuchinke,Trapp,Jacobs,& 58 Leder, 2009;McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000Menninghaus, 59 Bohrn, Altmann, Lubrich, & Jacobs, 2014;Reber, Schwarz, & 60 Winkielman, 2004), while hampering it in others (e.g., Giora 61 et al., 2004;Jakesch, Leder, & Forster, 2013;Miall & Kuiken, 62 1994. Roman Jakobson's (1960) model of the ''poetic 63 function'' of language stipulates that the poetic and rhetorical 64 refinement of language tends to make it more ambiguous and 65 hence more difficult to understand. ...
... If these predicted 82 findings materialized, an explanatory model would be called for 83 that integrates both enhancing and adverse effects of rhetorical 84 patterning on cognitive fluency. 85 Experimental research on rhetorical features of language has 86 mostly tested the effects of single rhetorical target variables 87 (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000van Peer, 1990). However, 88 far more than just one such feature is typically found even in single 89 sentences of poetic or rhetorical language. ...
... Strictly speaking, unfamiliar proverbs are not lexical-336 ized entries in the extended lexicon of a given language (Bock & 337 Brewer, 1980;Chafe, 1968 parts of a sentence, including syllables of words (Quintilian,355 1953: VIII 5, IX; see also Barthes, 1980 (p-levels shown in Fig. 1). 468 To the best of our knowledge, Jakobson's (1960) The data presented here are not in line with a previous study in 488 which the presence or absence of rhyme in aphorisms had no effect 489 on ease of comprehension, but promoted truth attributions 490 (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000. Importantly, this previous (for comparable 629 findings, see Giora et al., 2004;Miall & Kuiken, 1994. ...
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Studies on rhetorical features of language have reported both enhancing and adverse effects on ease of processing. We hypothesized that two explanations may account for these inconclusive findings. First, the respective gains and losses in ease of processing may apply to different dimensions of language processing (specifically, prosodic and semantic processing) and different types of fluency (perceptual vs. conceptual) and may well allow for an integration into a more comprehensive framework. Second, the effects of rhetorical features may be sensitive to interactions with other rhetorical features; employing a feature separately or in combination with others may then predict starkly different effects. We designed a series of experiments in which we expected the same rhetorical features of the very same sentences to exert adverse effects on semantic (conceptual) fluency and enhancing effects on prosodic (perceptual) fluency. We focused on proverbs that each employ three rhetorical features: rhyme, meter, and brevitas (i.e., artful shortness). The presence of these target features decreased ease of conceptual fluency (semantic comprehension) while enhancing perceptual fluency as reflected in beauty and succinctness ratings that were mainly driven by prosodic features. The rhetorical features also predicted choices for persuasive purposes, yet only for the sentence versions featuring all three rhetorical features; the presence of only one or two rhetorical features had an adverse effect on the choices made. We suggest that the facilitating effects of a combination of rhyme, meter, and rhetorical brevitas on perceptual (prosodic) fluency overcompensated for their adverse effects on conceptual (semantic) fluency, thus resulting in a total net gain both in processing ease and in choices for persuasive purposes. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
... The point of an aphorism is that it is memorable; this gives it power. McGlone and Tofighbakhsh 24 show that aphorisms 'work' as a general linguistic device partly because 'rhyme is reason' -a rhyming statement such as 'Woes unite foes' is perceived as more truthful than 'Woes unite enemies'. They also suggest that the 'truth value' of a statement depends partly upon its aesthetic qualities, and this is an aspect of the rhetorical, or persuasive, power of text in both speech and writing. ...
... They also suggest that the 'truth value' of a statement depends partly upon its aesthetic qualities, and this is an aspect of the rhetorical, or persuasive, power of text in both speech and writing. 24 Although it is often a bonus, this rhetorical property does emphasise the need to validate the claims of aphorisms as they are used in medical contexts. ...
Article
Aphorisms are succinct sayings that offer advice. They have permanently coloured medical culture and inhabit it in the same way as uncertainty; they are acknowledged, but rarely explored. Little has been written analytically or critically about the meanings and purposes of aphorisms in contemporary medical education, especially as a processional activity that maintains tradition, but both adds to and reframes it. We note multiple purposes for medical aphorisms, including roles as heuristics (rules of thumb) for practice, and in the identity construction of the clinician within a community beset by professional uncertainty and accountability. We suggest that aphorisms should be cared for not simply as historical curiosities, but as renewable ways of creating an 'art of memory' in medical education, stimulating recognition and recall as aesthetic rhetorical devices. In this spirit, we encourage the development of aphorisms appropriate for 21st century medicine in a process that should include the involvement of patients in building a proxy public literacy to inform collaboration in clinical encounters. We propose a novel framework for aphorisms, emphasising strategies to enhance or maximise clinical judgement and professional behaviour, affirm identities, and educate the public via the media.
... In Greek and medieval art, it was considered impossible that something untruthful could be beautiful (see Eco, 1988;Tatarkiewicz, 1970). Even in 19th century poetry, beauty and truth were seen as two sides of the same coin, as expressed by Keats' famous assertion " beauty is truth, truth is beauty " (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, p. 240). It was only later that beauty and truth were viewed as separate attributes in art. ...
... Similarly, McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (2000) demonstrated that the same propositions are more likely to be perceived as true when presented in a rhyming rather than a nonrhyming form. Interestingly, a rhyming form also enhances the fluency with which statements are understood (e.g., Meyer, Schvaneveldt, & Ruddy, 1975, Rubin, 1995) and is used in poetry to increase the reader's pleasure (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999; Vendler, 1997). In combination, these findings suggest that judgments of beauty and intuitive judgments of truth may share a common underlying mechanism. ...
Article
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We propose that aesthetic pleasure is a function of the perceiver's processing dynamics: The more fluently perceivers can process an object, the more positive their aesthetic response. We review variables known to influence aesthetic judgments, such as figural goodness, figure-ground contrast, stimulus repetition, symmetry, and prototypicality, and trace their effects to changes in processing fluency. Other variables that influence processing fluency, like visual or semantic priming, similarly increase judgments of aesthetic pleasure. Our proposal provides an integrative framework for the study of aesthetic pleasure and sheds light on the interplay between early preferences versus cultural influences on taste, preferences for both prototypical and abstracted forms, and the relation between beauty and truth. In contrast to theories that trace aesthetic pleasure to objective stimulus features per se, we propose that beauty is grounded in the processing experiences of the perceiver, which are in part a function of stimulus properties.
... Interesting recent research has examined this phenomenon. McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (1999) investigated aphorisms and call this the "Keats' heuristic": "the aesthetic qualities of a message are equated with its truth" (McGlone and Tofighbakhsh 1999: 240). The phenomenon is not limited to aphorisms: "The rhyme-as-reason effect occurs not only in evaluation of existing aphorisms, but applies also to perception and evaluation of advertising slogans" (Filkuková and Klempe, 2013). ...
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This article reviews some of the universal features of humorous wordplay which include the phonological mechanisms used to manipulate strings, the semantic oppositeness found in incongruity, the pseudo-logical Cratylistic resolution of the incongruity, and the relative distribution of types of wordplay involving different types of ambiguity and alliteration.
... In recent psycholinguistic research on rhyme and poetic meter, the focus has been almost exclusively on cognitive and other benefits. Specifically, rhyme and/or meter have been shown to enhance memorability (Bower & Bolton, 1969;Hanauer, 1996;Rubin, 1995;Rubin, Ciobanu, & Langston, 1997;Tillmann & Dowling, 2007), processing fluency (Dilley & McAuley, 2008;Hoorn, 1996;Menninghaus, Bohrn, Altmann, Lubrich, & Jacobs, 2014;Obermeier et al., 2016Obermeier et al., , 2013Tilsen, 2011), truth attributions (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000, and in part also lexical access (Zwitserlood, 1996). Moreover, rhyme and meter enhanced ratings for beauty and the power to emotionally move readers (Menninghaus, Wagner, Wassiliwizky, Jacobsen, & Knoop, 2017). ...
Article
Previous research has shown that rhyme and meter—although enhancing prosodic processing ease and memorability—also tend to make semantic processing more demanding. Using a set of rhymed and metered proverbs, as well as nonrhymed and nonmetered versions of these proverbs, the present study reveals this hitherto unspecified difficulty of comprehension to be specifically driven by perceived ambiguity. Roman Jakobson was the 1st to propose this hypothesis, in 1960. He suggested that “ambiguity is an intrinsic, inalienable feature” of “parallelistic” diction of which the combination of rhyme and meter is a pronounced example. Our results show that ambiguity indeed explains a substantial portion of the rhyme- and meter-driven difficulty of comprehension. Longer word-reading times differentially reflected ratings for ambiguity and comprehension difficulty. However, the ambiguity effect is not “inalienable.” Rather, many rhymed and metered sentences turned out to be low in ambiguity.
... 143). Although the distinction between content and form clearly has analytic value, it has not been established that readers routinely separate the contributions that these components make to their overall appreciation of an aphorism (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999). For example, consider how readers might respond differently to " Variety prevents satiety " and a slightly modified version of this statement, " Variation prevents satiety. ...
Article
We explored the role that poetic form can play in people's perceptions of the accuracy of aphorisms as descriptions of human behavior. Participants judged the ostensible accuracy of unfamiliar aphorisms presented in their textually surviving form or a semantically equivalent modified form. Extant rhyming aphorisms in their original form (e.g., "What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals") were judged to be more accurate than modified versions that did not preserve rhyme ("What sobriety conceals, alcohol unmasks"). However, the perceived truth advantage of rhyming aphorisms over their modified forms was attenuated when people were cautioned to distinguish aphorisms' poetic qualities from their semantic content. Our results suggest that rhyme, like repetition, affords statements an enhancement in processing fluency that can be misattributed to heightened conviction about their truthfulness.
... With regard to poetry and the arts, the mind will attribute higher value and credibility to aesthetically pleasing form. This is called the Keats heuristic (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999). In other words, we want to find a meaningful poetry algorithm, because the words are pleasing and presented as a coherent whole, suggesting deliberate expertise. ...
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Modeling Creativity (doctoral dissertation, 2013) explores how creativity can be represented using computational approaches. Our aim is to construct computer models that exhibit creativity in an artistic context, that is, that are capable of generating or evaluating an artwork (visual or linguistic), an interesting new idea, a subjective opinion. The research was conducted in 2008-2012 at the Computational Linguistics Research Group (CLiPS, University of Antwerp) under the supervision of Prof. Walter Daelemans. Prior research was also conducted at the Experimental Media Research Group (EMRG, St. Lucas University College of Art & Design Antwerp) under the supervision of Lucas Nijs. Modeling Creativity examines creativity in a number of different perspectives: from its origins in nature, which is essentially blind, to humans and machines, and from generating creative ideas to evaluating and learning their novelty and usefulness. We will use a hands-on approach with case studies and examples in the Python programming language.
... The effects of processing fluency (i.e., a metacognitive feeling of ease of processing) have been shown in many different domains. Stimuli that are processed more fluently are usually judged to be more valuable (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2008), more likeable (Reber, Winkielman, & Schwarz, 1998), more frequent (Tversky & Kahneman, 1973), and more likely to be true (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999) than stimuli that are less fluent. One of the studies of judgmental effects of processing fluency showed that people perceive food additives and amusement-park rides with names that are hard to pronounce to be riskier (Song & Schwarz, 2009 ). ...
Article
Processing fluency is used as a basis for various types of judgment. For example, previous research has shown that people judge food additives with names that are more difficult to pronounce (i.e., that are disfluent) to be more harmful. We explored the possibility that the association between disfluency and perceived harmfulness might be in the opposite direction for some categories of stimuli. Although we found some support for this hypothesis, an improved analysis and further studies indicated that the effect was strongly dependent on the stimuli used. We then used stimulus sampling and showed that the original association between fluency and perceived safety was not replicable with the newly constructed stimuli. We found the association between fluency and perceived safety using the newly constructed stimuli in a final study, but only when pronounceability was confounded with word length. The results cast doubt on generalizability of the association between pronounceability and perceived safety and underscore the importance of treating stimulus as a random factor.
... Formalist poetics and several empirical studies support this assumption, however, without specific reference to parallelistic diction (Šhklovsky, 1965;Giora et al., 2004;Miall & Kuiken, 1994. Contrary to these assumptions, other studies showed that parallelistic patterns actually enhanced ease of processing (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999Menninghaus et al., 2014;Reber et al., 2004). A recent study (Menninghaus, Bohrn et al., 2015) reported adverse effects of meter and rhyme on ease of comprehension along with enhancing effects on prosodic fluency that overcompensated the adverse effects on semantic processing (for a comparable finding see Song & Schwarz, 2009). ...
Article
Parallelistic features of poetic and rhetorical language use comprise a great variety of linguistically optional patterns of phonological, prosodic, syntactic, and semantic recurrence. Going beyond studies on cognitive facilitation effects of individual parallelistic features (most notably rhyme, alliteration, and meter), the present study shows that the joint employment of multiple such features in 40 sad and joyful poems intensifies all emotional response dimensions (joy, sadness, being moved, intensity, and positive affect) and all aesthetic appreciation dimensions (beauty, liking, and melodiousness) that we measured. Given that parallelistic diction is also used, to different degrees, in ritual language, commercial ads, political slogans, and everyday conversations, the implications of these findings are potentially far-reaching.
... "the validity effect", e.g. Hackett Renner 2004), rhyme (McGlone and Tofighbakhsh 1999) or the manipulation of perceptual features (Reber and Schwarz 1999). Several scholars have suggested that foreign accent may be an additional factor hampering processing fluency. ...
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The present paper reports on a study investigating whether the presence of a foreign accent negatively affects credibility judgments. Previous research suggests that trivia statements recorded by speakers with a foreign accent are judged as less credible than when recorded by native speakers due to increased cognitive demands (Lev-Ari and Keysar in J Exp Soc Psychol 46(6):1093-1096, 2010. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.025 ). In the present study, 194 French- and 183 Swiss-German-speaking participants were asked to judge the truthfulness of 48 trivia statements recorded by speakers with French, Swiss-German, Italian and English accents by means of an online survey. Before submitting the survey, raters were asked to attribute given labels-including adjectives referring to credibility-to a language group aiming to elicit raters' stereotypes in a direct manner. Although the results of this task indicate that the raters do hold different stereotypes concerning credibility of speech communities, foreign accent does not seem to have an impact on credibility ratings in the Swiss context.
... With some exaggeration, we could say that the formal organization of the text helps us accept linguistic constructs that would be impossible otherwise, those that expand the set of all admissible texts. There seems to be a clear parallel here with the remarkable result of McGlone and Tofighbakhsh (1999) who discovered that rhymed aphorisms are perceived as being more true than their non-rhymed semantic equivalents (while being equally comprehensible). Indeed, a rhymed saying has a higher total redundancy than the unrhymed equivalent, which is subconsciously perceived as a certificate of correctness, but this redundancy doesn't come at the expense of the meaning-carrying capacity. ...
Chapter
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... Thus, people perceive characteristics such as repetition, symmetry, and prototypicality as more aesthetically pleasing and are less critical of messages containing them. Indeed, rhetorical devices such as aphorisms, defined, in part, by their pleasurable qualities, serve as evaluative heuristics that are preferred to nonaphoristic equivalents (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 1999, 2000. In addition, people judge alliterative messages more positively than those with no alliteration (Davis, Bagchi, & Block, 2016). ...
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In order to better understand the state, evolution, and impact of titling practices in the field of communication, we examine the prevalence of stylistic cues in journal article titles and whether such cues predict subsequent citations. We employed a stratified random sample of articles published in 22 communication journals between 1970 and 2010 ( N = 2,400). Although authors have increasingly used stylistic cues in academic titles, articles with titles containing such cues were cited less frequently. Journal impact modified this relationship: The presence of a stylistic title was associated with more citations if the article was published in a lower impact journal, but fewer citations if it was published in a higher impact journal. Taken together, the results highlight a tension between authors’ attempts to distinguish their work in an increasingly crowded marketplace and readers’ general reluctance to cite scholarship containing stylistic title cues.
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The significance of linguistic creativity in everyday situations is now widely recognized in applied linguistics. There has been substantial discussion of the role played by various tropes in the development of linguistic creativity. However, there is one trope which has been relatively underexplored in this literature. Metonymy—the use of one entity, process or event to refer to another related entity, process or event—is an important means of communication as it allows people to formulate and express ideas succinctly as well as serving a range of communicative functions. The use of metonymy as a creative linguistic resource has received very little attention in the literature on everyday creativity. To show how metonymy is used creatively in everyday texts, this article reports findings from an in-depth study of metonymy in an 11,067-word corpus of text-messages. We highlight the role of metonymy as a creative resource, and propose a framework for categorizing and explaining creative uses of metonymy. The framework identifies two non-mutually exclusive forms of creativity involving metonymy: one based on meaning and one based on form.
Chapter
Linguistic creativity requires a marriage of form and content in which each works together to convey our meanings with concision, resonance and wit. Though form clearly influences and shapes our content, the most deft formal trickery cannot compensate for a lack of real insight. Before computers can be truly creative with language, we must first imbue them with the ability to formulate meanings that are worthy of creative expression. This is especially true of computer-generated poetry. If readers are to recognize a poetic turn-of-phrase as more than a superficial manipulation of words, they must perceive and connect with the meanings and the intent behind the words. So it is not enough for a computer to merely generate poem-shaped texts; poems must be driven by conceits that build an affective worldview. This chapter describes a conceit-driven approach to computational poetry, in which metaphorical conceits are generated for a given topic and affective slant. Subtle inferences drawn from these conceits can then drive the process of poetry generation. In the same vein, we consider the problem of generating witty insights from the banal truisms of common-sense knowledge bases.
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Stephen J. Gould’s greatest contribution to science is a revised version of the theory of evolution which offers today a useful framework for understanding progress in many evolutionary fields. His intuitions about the conjunction of evolution and development, the role of ecological factors in speciation, the multi-level interpretation of the units of selection, and the interplay between functional pressures and constraints all represent fruitful lines of experimental research. His opposition to the progressive representations of evolution, the gene-centered view of natural history, or the adaptationist “just-so stories” has also left its mark on current biology. In May 2012, at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Venice, an international panel of scientists and philosophers discussed Stephen J. Gould’s legacy, ten years after his death. This book presents a selection of those contributions, chosen for their interest and importance. A broad range of themes are covered: Gould’s contribution to evolutionary theory, including the concept of punctuated equilibria and the importance of his pluralism; the Gouldian view of genome and development; Gould’s legacy in anthropology; and, finally, the significance of his thought for the human sciences. This book provides a fascinating appraisal of the cultural legacy of one of the world’s greatest popular writers in the life sciences. This is the first time that scientists including some of Gould’s personal friends and co-authors of papers of momentous importance such as Niles Eldredge have come together to strike a balanced view of Gould's intellectual heritage.
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Computers are now able to automatically generate metaphors, but some automatically generated metaphors are more well received than others. In this article, we showed participants a series of “A is B” type metaphors that were either generated by humans or taken from the Twitter account “MetaphorIsMyBusiness” (@MetaphorMagnet), which is linked to a fully automated metaphor generator. We used these metaphors to assess linguistic factors that drive metaphor appreciation and understanding, including the role of novelty, word frequency, concreteness, and emotional valence of the topic and vehicle terms. We additionally assessed how these metaphors were understood in three languages, including English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese, and whether participants thought they had been generated by a human or a computer. We found that meaningfulness, appreciation, speed in finding meaning, and humanness ratings were reliably correlated with each other in all three languages, which we interpret to indicate a more general property of “metaphor quality.” We furthermore found that in all three languages, conventional metaphors and those that contained an “optimal” (intermediate) degree of novelty were more likely to be perceived to be of higher quality than those that were extremely creative. Further analysis of the English data alone revealed that those metaphors that contained negatively valenced vehicle words and infrequent vehicle terms (in comparison with the topic terms) were more likely to be considered high-quality metaphors. We discuss the implications of these findings for the (improvement of) automatic generation of metaphor by computers, for the persuasive function of metaphor, and for theories of metaphor understanding more generally.
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Most models of judgment and decision making focus solely onwhatcomestomind.Thisfocusonthoughtcontentmisses that the meta-cognitive experiences that accompany the thought process are informative in their own right. These experiences include the ease or difficulty with which information can be brought to mind or reasons can be generated (accessibility experiences) and the fluency with which new information can be processed (processing fluency). Metacognitive experiences can qualify the implications of thought content, resulting in judgments and decisions that are opposite to the predictions derived from content-focused models. For example, recalling many risk-increasing behaviors is more difficult than recalling only a few. Drawing on this difficulty, people who recall many risk-increasing behaviors infer thattheyareatlowerriskthanpeoplewhorecallmerelyafew risk-increasing behaviors, in contrast to what the content of recall would suggest. Similarly, content-focused models of judgment suggest that we evaluate the truth of a proposition on the basis of relevant knowledge. In contrast, people are more likely to accept a proposition as true the easier it is to read, for example, due to good figure-ground contrast of the visual presentation. This reflects that easy-to-process information is experienced as more familiar and hence more likely to be accepted as true. These and related findings highlight that we cannot understand judgment and decision processes without taking the meta-cognitive experiences that accompany the reasoning process into account. Key words: meta-cognitive experiences; judgment; decision making. (Med Deci Making 2005;00:000-000)
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Reports 4 experiments concerning the effect of repetition on rated truth (the illusory-truth effect). Statements were paired with differentially credible sources (true vs false). Old trues would be rated true on 2 bases, source recollection and statement familiarity. Old falses, however, would be rated false if sources were recollected, leaving the unintentional influence of familiarity as their only basis for being rated true. Even so, falses were rated truer than new statements unless sources were especially memorable. Estimates showed the contributions of the 2 influences to be independent; the intentional influence of recollection was reduced if control was impaired, but the unintentional influence of familiarity remained constant. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Reviews evidence which suggests that there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes. Ss are sometimes (a) unaware of the existence of a stimulus that importantly influenced a response, (b) unaware of the existence of the response, and (c) unaware that the stimulus has affected the response. It is proposed that when people attempt to report on their cognitive processes, that is, on the processes mediating the effects of a stimulus on a response, they do not do so on the basis of any true introspection. Instead, their reports are based on a priori, implicit causal theories, or judgments about the extent to which a particular stimulus is a plausible cause of a given response. This suggests that though people may not be able to observe directly their cognitive processes, they will sometimes be able to report accurately about them. Accurate reports will occur when influential stimuli are salient and are plausible causes of the responses they produce, and will not occur when stimuli are not salient or are not plausible causes. (86 ref)
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Subjects rated how certain they were that each of 60 statements was true or false. The statements were sampled from areas of knowledge including politics, sports, and the arts, and were plausible but unlikely to be specifically known by most college students. Subjects gave ratings on three successive occasions at 2-week intervals. Embedded in the list were a critical set of statements that were either repeated across the sessions or were not repeated. For both true and false statements, there was a significant increase in the validity judgments for the repeated statements and no change in the validity judgments for the non-repeated statements. Frequency of occurrence is apparently a criterion used to establish the referential validity of plausible statements.
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Ode on a Grecian urn = Oda a una urna griega / recreación de J. David Pujante
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Two attributes on which words have been widely scaled are imagery value and familiarity. One reason much memory research has used single words rather than more complex verbal material may be the ready availability of such scaled normative material. The purpose of this study was to provide a list of sentences that have been scaled on visual imagery and familiarity to facilitate the extension of memory research to more complex material. In this study, 203 sayings (e.g., Haste makes waste) were rated on 7-point scales for visual imagery (VI) by 51 students and for familiarity (F) by 50 students. The sayings are listed, with their individual means and standard deviations for VI and F. Also reported are the overall mean and standard deviation for VI and F, the correlation between VI and F, reliability data, and comparisons with studies that have scaled single words for VI and F. These ratings should help researchers extend verbal-learning and memory research beyond single words.
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The relationship between the feelings of pleasure and arousal elicited by an environment and ratings of source credibility and attitude change was explored in a three by two design. Three levels of pleasure and two levels of arousal were combined factorially. 7he results suggest that the emotion-eliciting qualities of the environment can be used to predict both source credibility and attitude change. The results are discussed in relation to other findings in attitude research.
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Twenty-four male pairs and 24 female pairs of close friends were individually photographed and were independently and reliably rated on physical attractiveness by two judges. Actual friends were hypothesized to be significantly less discrepant on attractiveness than a control group contrived by randomly pairing the ratings within each same-sex sample. Results support this hypothesis for male friends (p < .02) and for female friends (p < .05). The findings' implications for research and for the self-fulfillment of physical attractiveness stereotyping are discussed in terms of social exchange and social learning formulations.
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How do people interpret metaphors such asThe lecture was a three-course meal?Lakoff (1993) has proposed that figurative expressions are interpreted as instantiations of deep conceptual metaphors, such as IDEAS ARE FOOD. In contrast, Glucksberg (1991) has proposed that metaphors are interpreted as assertions of the topic's (e.g.,lecture) membership in an attributive category exemplified by the vehicle (e.g.,three-course meal). Four experiments that test the predictions of the two views are reported. The results suggest that reference to a conceptual metaphor is not the modal strategy that people use when paraphrasing metaphors (Experiments 1 and 2), rating the similarity between metaphors (Experiment 3), or retrieving metaphors from memory (Experiment 4). In each of these situations, participants relied primarily on the stereotypical properties of the vehicle concept. The results from these experiments are consistent with Glucksberg's (1991) attributive categorization proposal.
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Linguists who work within the tradition of transformational generative grammar tend to regard semantics as an intractable, perhaps ultimately unfathomable, part of language. In diagrams of the overall organization of the theory of grammar the semantic component is that box ritually drawn next to the one labelled “Syntactic Component” and connected to it by arrows of uncertain significance. The semantic box itself is generally empty — which is fitting for a component of grammar about which, it is believed, next to nothing is known.
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Comments on T. B. Rogers's (see record 1991-03999-001) examination of the role of proverbs in psychology, highlighting (1) the need to consider context and function when using proverbs in testing and theories and (2) the need for a closer working relationship between the fields of paremiology and psychology. The international and interdisciplinary nature of research on proverbs is stressed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Proverbs provide insight into the nature of socio‐logic as a body of principles to guide practical reasoning. English language proverbs reflect many of the rational principles found in argumentation textbooks, including: (1) a typology of arguments, (2) rules for correct inference, and (3) cautions about potential fallacies.
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In a field setting, each of 68 physically attractive or unattractive male and female communicator Ss (undergraduates) delivered a persuasive message to 2 undergraduate target Ss of each sex. Results indicate that attractive (vs unattractive) communicators induced significantly greater persuasion on both a verbal and behavioral measure of target agreement. In addition, female targets indicated greater agreement than male targets. Data gathered from communicator Ss during an earlier laboratory session indicate that physically attractive and unattractive communicators differed with respect to several communication skills and other attributes relevant to communicator persuasiveness, including GPA, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, and several measures of self-evaluation. These findings suggest that attractive individuals may be more persuasive than unattractive persons partly because they possess characteristics that dispose them to be more effective communicators. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In 3 experiments, plausible but unfamiliar facts were presented with comments that bias Ss to believe or doubt the truth of the facts. A total of 325 university students participated. It was proposed that the ring of truth is based on the accord between the facts expressed by a statement and the facts retrieved from memory. Negative biases reduced the probability that presented facts were learned, relative to affirmative comments. Statements that repeated affirmatively biased facts rang truer than statements that repeated negatively biased facts, which themselves rang truer than new statements. Statements that contradicted affirmatively biased facts rang more false than statements that contradicted negatively biased facts. Ss made more precise recognition decisions about old affirmative than old negative statements. Results could not be explained by a discounting-cue hypothesis. (French abstract) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Is there a difference between believing and merely understanding an idea? R. Descartes (e.g., 1641 [1984]) thought so. He considered the acceptance and rejection of an idea to be alternative outcomes of an effortful assessment process that occurs subsequent to the automatic comprehension of that idea. This article examined B. Spinoza's (1982) alternative suggestion that (1) the acceptance of an idea is part of the automatic comprehension of that idea and (2) the rejection of an idea occurs subsequent to, and more effortfully than, its acceptance. In this view, the mental representation of abstract ideas is quite similar to the mental representation of physical objects: People believe in the ideas they comprehend, as quickly and automatically as they believe in the objects they see. Research in social and cognitive psychology suggests that Spinoza's model may be a more accurate account of human belief than is that of Descartes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In Exps I–IV, 128 3–5 yr old preschoolers listened to stories told in either prose or verse form and then answered recognition or recall questions about each narrative's content. Ss also indicated their liking of the story on a 3-point scale. Even though Ss reported liking stories better in verse than in prose form, results demonstrate that Ss' overall short-term retention of story events was significantly higher for prose than for verse presentations. Although 40 college students in Exp V showed higher recall of the rhyming than prose passages, no overall facilitation for rhyme was found with preschoolers, even when recognition of only the rhyming facets of a narration was tested. Results are discussed in terms of a levels-of-processing approach to memory functioning. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Previous research has shown that repeated statements are rated as more true than new ones. In Exp I, 98 undergraduates rated sentences for truth on 2 occasions, 3 wks apart. Results indicate that the repetition effect depends on Ss' detection of the fact that a statement is repeated: statements that are judged to be repeated are rated as truer than statements judged to be new, regardless of the actual status of the statements. Exp II with 64 undergraduates showed that repeated statements increment in credibility even if Ss were informed that they were repeated. It was further determined that statements that contradicted early ones were rated as relatively true if misclassified as repetitions but that statements judged to be changed were rated as relatively false: Ss were predisposed to believe statements that seemed to reaffirm existing knowledge and to disbelieve statements that contradicted existing knowledge. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Dogmatic statements are more likely to have greater verbal acceptance when they are attributed to well-liked personages than in situations in which they are attributed to disliked people. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Several techniques have been developed to examine how people understand conditional sentences. However, these techniques have produced different conclusions about if … then. The present experiments examined two of them, the Conditional Evaluation task and the Conditional Syllogism task, to determine the cause of these differences. In Experiment 1, we collected Evaluation and Syllogism judgments from the same subjects and for the same sentences. The results showed more material conditional responses in the Evaluation than in the Syllogism task. Experiment 2 replicated this finding in a situation where subjects' reaction times were recorded. From these studies, we propose a quantitative model to explain the Evaluation—Syllogism difference in terms of the more complex processing requirements imposed by the Syllogism task.
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Repr Bibliogr. s. 254-256
Article
The ability to understand proverbial sayings, such as a rolling stone gathers no moss, has been of great interest to researchers in many areas of psychology. Most psychologists assume that understanding the figurative meanings of proverbs requires various kinds of higher order cognitive abilities. The authors review the findings on proverb interpretation to examine the question of what proverb use and understanding reveals about the ways normal and dysfunctional individuals think. The widely held idea that failure to provide a figurative interpretation of a proverb necessarily reflects a deficit in specialized abstract thinking is rejected. Moreover, the ability to correctly explain what a proverb means does not necessarily imply that an individual can think abstractly. Various empirical evidence, nonetheless, suggests that the ability to understand many proverbs reveals the presence of metaphorical schemes that are ubiquitous in everyday thought.
Article
This experiment was designed to test the hypothesis that food, as an extraneous gratification accompanying exposure to a persuasive communication, will increase acceptance, even though the donor of the food is not the source of the communication and does not endorse it. 2 replicating experiments were carried out with 216 male college students. Both experiments used 3 groups of Ss, assigned on a random basis to the following conditions, which involved exposure to: (a) 4 persuasive communications while eating desirable food; (b) the same 4 communications with no food present; (c) no relevant communications (control condition). Both experiments provide confirmatory evidence, indicating that more opinion change tends to be elicited under conditions where the Ss are eating while reading the communications. The theoretical implications are discussed with respect to psychological processes involved in changing attitudes.
The gay science Language universals and constraints on proverbial form
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Psychological Review, 84, 231-259. Nietzsche, F., 1986 [1887]. The gay science. New York: Mentor. Odlin, T., 1986. Language universals and constraints on proverbial form. Proverbium 3, 125-151
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Janis, I.L., D. Kaye and P. Kirschner, 1965. Facilitating effects of eating while reading' on responsive-ness to persuasive communications. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1, 181-186. r244 M.S. McGlone, J. Tofighbakhsh / Poetics 26 (1999) 235-244 Keats, J., 1983 [1820]. Ode on a Grecian urn. Reprinted in: ?? (ed.), The Norton anthology of poetry, 664. New York: Norton
Linguistics and poetics Style in language: 350-377. Cam-bridge
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Jakobson, R., 1960. Linguistics and poetics. In: T. Sebeok (ed.), Style in language: 350-377. Cam-bridge, MA: MIT Press.
The perils of paraphrase
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Introduction to design and analysis
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Keppel, G., W.H. Saufley and H. Tokunaga, 1992. Introduction to design and analysis. Second edition. New York: Freeman.
Ode on a Grecian urn Reprinted in: ?? The Norton anthology of poetry
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Keats, J., 1983 [1820]. Ode on a Grecian urn. Reprinted in: ?? (ed.), The Norton anthology of poetry, 664. New York: Norton.
Language universals and constraints on proverbial form
  • Odlin
Odlin, T., 1986. Language universals and constraints on proverbial form. Proverbium 3, 125-151.
Wry martinis The matching hypothesis: Physical attractiveness among same-sexed friends
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Brown, R., 1958. Words and things. Toronto: Free Press. Buckley, C., 1997. Wry martinis. New York: Harper Perennial. Cash, T.F. and V.J. Derluga, 1978. The matching hypothesis: Physical attractiveness among same-sexed friends. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 4, 240-243.
The new Princeton handbook of poetic terms
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Brogan, T.V.F., 1994. The new Princeton handbook of poetic terms. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
The Penguin dictionary of aphorisms
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Fergusson, R., 1983. The Penguin dictionary of aphorisms. London: Penguin.
McGIone received his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Lafayette College. His primary research interests are experimental psycholinguistics, pragmatics, and persuasion
  • S Matthew
Matthew S. McGIone received his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Lafayette College. His primary research interests are experimental psycholinguistics, pragmatics, and persuasion.
Repetition and the ring of truth
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Begg, I.M, and V. Armour, 1991. Repetition and the ring of truth. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 121,446--458.