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Why the Sunny Side Is Up Associations Between Affect and Vertical Position

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Abstract

Metaphors linking spatial location and affect (e.g., feeling up or down) may have subtle, but pervasive, effects on evaluation. In three studies, participants evaluated words presented on a computer. In Study 1, evaluations of positive words were faster when words were in the up rather than the down position, whereas evaluations of negative words were faster when words were in the down rather than the up position. In Study 2, positive evaluations activated higher areas of visual space, whereas negative evaluations activated lower areas of visual space. Study 3 revealed that, although evaluations activate areas of visual space, spatial positions do not activate evaluations. The studies suggest that affect has a surprisingly physical basis.

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... The same sensory attribute can ground different judgment dimensions. For example, verticality has been shown to ground valence (good things are "up"; Meier & Robinson, 2004), power (the powerful are "at the top"; Schubert, 2005), and rationality ("high level" intellectual discussions sometimes "sink" to an emotional level; Cian et al., 2015). Similarly, heaviness grounds concepts beyond importance, including guilt (Kouchaki et al., 2014), secrets (Slepian et al., 2012), and forgiveness (Zheng et al., 2015). ...
... The available evidence suggests that the mapping that is most likely to be used is the one that is most accessible at the moment and most applicable to the target (for discussions, see Landau, 2017;Schwarz & Lee, 2019;Xu et al., in press). Hence, verticality is interpreted as bearing on valence when participants are asked valence-related questions (e.g., Meier & Robinson, 2004) but as bearing on power (Schubert, 2005) or rationality (Cian et al., 2015) when participants are asked power-or rationality-related questions. ...
... A situated perspective also refines previous theories by providing a parsimonious solution for the problem of one-to-many mappings. Some sensory inputs have multiple metaphorical meanings, as already noted for the case of verticality-being "up" or "down" can connote valence (Meier & Robinson, 2004), godliness (Meier et al., 2007), power (Schubert, 2005), and rationality/emotionality (Cian et al., 2015). Additionally, these meanings can differ across cultures (see Xu et al., in press). ...
Preprint
Bodily sensations impact metaphorically related judgments. Are such effects obligatory or do they follow the logic of knowledge accessibility? If the latter, the impact of sensory information should be moderated by the accessibility of the related metaphor at the time of sensory experience. We manipulated whether “importance” was on participants’ minds when they held a physically heavy vs. light book. Participants held the book while making an importance judgment vs. returned it before making the judgment (Study 1) or learned prior to holding the book that the study was about “importance evaluations” vs. “graphics evaluations” (Study 2). In both studies, the same book was judged more important when its heft was increased, but only when importance was on participants’ minds at the time of sensory experience. We conclude that sensory experiences only impact metaphorically-related judgments when the applicable metaphor is highly accessible at the time of experience.
... Subsequent to the auditory presentation of the language stimulus, they responded to the color of a circle displayed at the center of the screen location words, once with native English speakers (Experiment 1) and once with German native speakers (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we applied the web-suited paradigm to another group of words, namely valence words referring to emotions that are typically associated with a slouched or an upright bodily posture (i.e., with spatial experiences that are characterized by having a down vs. an up component; see Dudschig et al., 2015;Meier & Robinson, 2004). Importantly, using the lab-based vertical Stroop paradigm of Lachmair et al., it has already been shown that these words influence subsequent vertical arm movements in accordance with the spatial experiences they are related to (see Dudschig et al., 2015, Experiment 3). ...
... However, there is strong evidence indicating that language-space associations also exist for various other groups of words. For instance, this applies to power-related words (e.g., "king" and "servant"; Jiang & Henley, 2012;Wu et al., 2016;Zanolie et al., 2012), words describing religious concepts (e.g., "Lord" and "Satan"; Chasteen et al., 2010;Meier et al., 2007), and valence words (e.g., "love" and "danger"; Meier & Robinson, 2004;Santiago et al., 2012). Interestingly, Dudschig et al. (2015, Experiment 3) employed the lab-based vertical Stroop paradigm of Lachmair et al. (2011, Experiment 2) to investigate whether processing a rather specific subset of valence words automatically influences subsequent arm movements. ...
... To this end, we investigated valence words referring to emotions that are associated with a slouched or an upright bodily posture (i.e., with spatial experiences that are characterized by having a down vs. an up component). Interestingly, the investigation of such valence-space associations has become of ever-increasing interest since the study of Meier and Robinson (2004) was published. Crucially, we again observed a spatial congruency effect (faster responses when the vertical association of the words matched the dragging direction) that was in line with previous lab-based work using the manual vertical Stroop task (see Dudschig et al., 2015, Experiment 3). ...
Article
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The number of web-based studies in experimental psychology has been growing tremendously throughout the last few years. However, a straightforward web-based implementation does not exist for all types of experimental paradigms. In the current paper, we focus on how vertical response movements—which play a crucial role in spatial cognition and language research—can be translated into a web-based setup. Specifically, we introduce a web-suited counterpart of the vertical Stroop task (e.g., Fox & Shor, in Bull Psychon Soc 7:187–189, 1976; Lachmair et al., in Psychon Bull Rev 18:1180–1188, 2011; Thornton et al., in J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 39:964–973, 2013). We employed nouns referring to entities typically located in lower or upper vertical space (e.g., “worm” and “bird”, respectively) in Experiments 1 and 2, and emotional valence words associated with a crouched or an upward bodily posture (e.g., “sadness” and “excitement”, respectively) in Experiment 3. Depending on the font color, our participants used their mouse to drag the words to the lower or upper screen location. Across all experiments, we consistently observed congruency effects analogous to those obtained with the lab paradigm using actual vertical arm movements. Consequently, we conclude that our web-suited paradigm establishes a reliable approach to examining vertical spatial associations.
... Whether metaphor is a necessary part and automatically be activated while people process concepts is another important question, which was firstly investigated by [26]. They This paradigm is assumed to investigate the automaticity of metaphoric representation, because the manipulation of concrete dimension is completely uninformative and irrelevant to the task on abstract concepts, such as power considered to be automatically connected to vertical position [37]; the association between affect and vertical position considered to be automatic [38]; affective evaluations considered to bias subsequent tone categorization automatically [39]; closeness considered to be mapped onto similarity automatically [40]. explained the metaphor congruency effects as the results of Stroop-like inference effect [34,38]. ...
... They This paradigm is assumed to investigate the automaticity of metaphoric representation, because the manipulation of concrete dimension is completely uninformative and irrelevant to the task on abstract concepts, such as power considered to be automatically connected to vertical position [37]; the association between affect and vertical position considered to be automatic [38]; affective evaluations considered to bias subsequent tone categorization automatically [39]; closeness considered to be mapped onto similarity automatically [40]. explained the metaphor congruency effects as the results of Stroop-like inference effect [34,38]. ...
... advocated testing the automaticity or obligatory of metaphoric associations. Many researchers theoretically explained the process of conceptual mapping is automatic[38,40, 49, 50]. However, this automaticity view has rarely been directly tested in the literature with few exceptions[51]. ...
Article
How human understand and represent concepts is always a hot topic in cognitive psychology. According to the conceptual metaphor theory 1, 2, understanding and representing abstract concepts rely on concrete concepts via metaphoric mappings. In this review, we discussed three core issues with the aim to have a comprehensive understanding of conceptual metaphors. First, I describe the underlying process of metaphoric mappings. Lakoff and Johnson (1999) 2 put forward that the source domain (concrete concepts) can be used to represent the target domain (abstract concepts). The metaphoric mappings from source domains to target domains are characterized as image schemas, which structure and provide sensory-motor grounding for abstract concepts. Then, I concerned on the directionality (the second issue) and automaticity (the third issue) of metaphoric mappings. According to conceptual metaphor theory, metaphoric mappings have the directionality from the concrete domain to the abstract domain, which is an automatic and obligatory process with neither effort nor awareness. However, directionality and automaticity were debated by recent research. In this article, by focusing on the three important issues I provided a comprehensive review which would help deepen our understanding about the nature of metaphoric mappings.
... The relationship between conceptual processing and regions of space has generated a considerable amount of research interest (Globig et al., 2019;Meier & Robinson, 2004;Sasaki et al., 2016). In a seminal study, Meier and Robinson (2004) showed that the evaluation of positive words was faster when they were presented in the upper half of a computer screen, and negative words evaluated faster in the lower half. ...
... The relationship between conceptual processing and regions of space has generated a considerable amount of research interest (Globig et al., 2019;Meier & Robinson, 2004;Sasaki et al., 2016). In a seminal study, Meier and Robinson (2004) showed that the evaluation of positive words was faster when they were presented in the upper half of a computer screen, and negative words evaluated faster in the lower half. This finding has since been replicated and extended to consider the relationship between body movements and valenced concepts. ...
... Using a variation of a paradigm developed by Meier and Robinson (2004), the current study compares alternative processes used in the coding of visual space, in relation to captured modal states for valenced concepts. ...
Article
Full-text available
Converging evidence has established that positive concepts presented on a computer screen are associated with upper regions of space, and negative concepts with a lower region of space. One explanation for this is that understanding positive or negative concepts requires the re-experiencing of direction, whereby “happy is up” and “sad is down.” However, it is unclear how the regions of space are encoded in these paradigms, space can be encoded in relation to oneself (egocentrically) or in object centred coordinates that are independent of oneself (exocentrically). The current study compares exocentric and egocentric coding of space, using a variation of the Meier and Robinson (2004) paradigm. Participants were asked to evaluate valenced concepts in either the upper or lower half of the screen. Spatial primes were used such that the concepts were preceded by either an upwards or a downwards eye movement. Exocentric coding of space in this paradigm was the computer screen, whilst egocentric coding was the eye movement used to access the top or bottom of the screen. It was proposed that egocentric coding of space, being coded in the body, provides evidence of a stronger relationship between the original bodily state of ‘up’ or ‘down’ and subsequent simulation. However, significant results supported an exocentric coding of space, with faster responses to positive concepts in the upper half of the screen, and to negative concepts in the lower half, irrespective of the direction of the eye movement preceding it. The implications of this for embodied cognition are discussed.
... Verticality, defined as "the position of a physical object along the vertical dimension", is a primary embodied experience underlying many abstract mental constructs through metaphorical thinking (Cian, 2017, p.444;Lakoff & Johnson, 1999;Schnall, 2014). Past research in psychology has documented a wide range of abstract concepts (e.g., valence, concreteness, power) metaphorically associated with verticality in people's minds, and these vertical metaphors have been shown to shape thoughts and actions in various ways (e.g., Aggarwal & Zhao, 2015;Meier & Robinson, 2004;Schubert, 2005;Sundar & Noseworthy, 2014;van Rompay, van Hoof, Rorink & Folsche, 2019). ...
... incongruent). For example, as expected from the "Good is Up" metaphor, Meier and Robinson (2004) demonstrated in a Stroop-like task that participants categorized positive words faster when the words were in a higher rather than a lower position, whereas they categorized negative words faster when the words were in a lower rather than a higher position. Similarly, as expected from the "Power is Up" metaphor, Schubert (2005) showed that people spent less time responding and committed fewer errors in a categorization task when the powerful groups were placed up and the powerless groups were placed down, as compared to when the powerful groups were placed down and the powerless groups were placed up. ...
... fluency (e.g., Meier & Robinson, 2004;Xie, Wang, & Chang, 2014). Studies 2a, 2b, 3 and 4 demonstrate the bidirectional effects of the "Healthy is Up" metaphor, namely, that people tend to position healthy food up high and to prefer a food pyramid depicting healthy food at the top (abstract-to-concrete effect), as well as to consider a food product as healthier when it seems to be in a higher position (concrete-to-abstract effect). ...
Article
As expressed by the “Healthy is Up” metaphor, conceptual metaphor theory argues that the representation of health is commonly associated with high verticality because, typically, people stay upright when they are healthy whereas illness may force them to lie down. Along this line of argument, this research is the first to empirically explore the metaphorical representation of healthy food in terms of verticality. Across five experiments (N = 714), this article first demonstrates that people are faster to pair healthy food with up than down in an implicit association test (Study 1, supporting a metaphorical congruency effect). Then, it shows that people associate healthy food with high verticality and unhealthy food with low verticality by placing healthy food up high and unhealthy food low down along the vertical axis, and by preferring a food pyramid that depicts healthy food at the top rather than at the bottom (Studies 2a, 2b and 3, supporting an abstract-to-concrete effect). Last, this research finds that people judge a food product as healthier when it is pictured from an upward-looking angle than when it is pictured from a downward-looking angle (Study 4, supporting a concrete-to-abstract effect). Further analyses test the interaction between individual differences in self-control and the effects of the “Healthy is Up” metaphor in Studies 2a, 2b, 3 and 4. The article concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of this research.
... In all studies conducted online we first excluded all participants who took over an hour to complete the study and then additionally excluded 1. We chose not to examine the social dimension of psychological distance because the poles of this dimension (e.g., "they vs. we" or "enemy vs. friend") are affectively laden, and affect is known to be associated with the vertical dimension (positive is up and negative is down; Meier & Robinson, 2004 participants whose completion time was more than 3 standard deviations longer than the mean completion time. ...
... The vertical positioning of the stimuli was manipulated between participants. To control for possible affective differences between conditions (see Meier & Robinson, 2004), at the end of the study participants were asked to indicate their current mood by making a vertical mark on a 100 mm horizontal scale with its extremes labeled very bad and very good. Participants were also asked to indicate the degree ...
... For example, in studies of decisionmaking judgments, the same event, plan, option, or idea may be perceived as less likely, more hypothetical, or more distant in the future when presented near the top of a vertical list than when presented near the bottom. Furthermore, previous research has shown that processing of a stimulus is faster (i.e., easier) when associated dimensions of the stimulus match (Chae & Hoegg, 2013;Cian et al., 2015;Deng & Kahn, 2009;Meier & Robinson, 2004). Studies 4 and 5 attest to an association between the vertical position of a stimulus and its psychological distance. ...
Article
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Recent findings suggest that stimulus construal level (high vs. low) is mentally associated with its vertical position (up vs. down). We delve deeper into this association and its meanings, and examine, for the first time, its complementary association, that of stimulus psychological distance (distant vs. close) and its vertical position (up vs. down). In Study 1 and 2 goals of activities were positioned higher than the means of performing them and were perceived as more compatible with a spatially higher viewpoint. In Study 3, self-perceptions were more invariant when items were presented at the top (vs. the bottom) of a visual display. In Study 4, participants positioned imagination-related concepts above reality-related concepts. In Study 5, participants provided more distant time estimates for scenarios presented at the top (vs. the bottom) of a display. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
... Research in the field of embodied cognition has found that abstract positive and negative valences are associated with high and low vertical positions, respectively. Compared with low position, high vertical position is associated with positive valence (such as good and positive traits) (Meier, Hauser, Robinson, Friesen, & Schjeldahl, 2007;Meier & Robinson, 2004). For example, Meier and Robinson (2004) found that judgment of positive words was faster when words were presented in the up rather than presented in the down position, whereas judgment of negative words was faster when words appeared in the down rather than appeared in the up position. ...
... Compared with low position, high vertical position is associated with positive valence (such as good and positive traits) (Meier, Hauser, Robinson, Friesen, & Schjeldahl, 2007;Meier & Robinson, 2004). For example, Meier and Robinson (2004) found that judgment of positive words was faster when words were presented in the up rather than presented in the down position, whereas judgment of negative words was faster when words appeared in the down rather than appeared in the up position. Since the rich are associated with positive valence, and positive valence is associated with high position, the rich should be associated with high vertical position. ...
... If the reaction time was longer than 2000 ms, the phrase "please be quicker" was presented for 700 ms. The methods used for stimuli presentation and participant responses were based on previous research (Meier & Robinson, 2004). The experimental program was created using E-Prime 2.0, and participants used an Asus laptop (the screen size was 14 inches) to complete the experiment. ...
Article
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This study explored whether vertical position affects social categorization of the rich and the poor. Experiment 1 used high- and low-income occupations as stimuli, and found participants categorized high-income occupations faster when they were presented in the top vertical position compared to the bottom vertical position. In Experiment 2, participants responded using either the “up” or “down” key to categorize high- and low-income occupations, and responded faster to high-income occupations with the “up” key and low-income occupations with the “down” key. In Experiment 3, names identified as belonging to either rich or poor individuals were presented at the top or bottom of a screen, and the results were the same as in Experiments 1 and 2. These findings suggest that social categorization based on wealth involved perceptual simulations of vertical position, and that vertical position affects the social categorization of the rich and the poor.
... The metaphor was important in the relation between environment and morality [18,30,31]. For example, researchers found that physical factors, such as color, size, brightness, and distance, were related to moral judgements [32][33][34][35][36][37][38]. The brightness of the environment influenced individual morality, which found participants in slightly dimly lit rooms have more cheating behavior than those in well-lit rooms [39]. ...
... In previous explorations of spatial metaphors, researchers have identified metaphorical relationships between the up and down properties of space and morality. Research has also found that cognition of words with different positive and negative meanings is influenced by spatial stimuli [34]. Spaciousness is a common physical property of the environment. ...
Article
Full-text available
The physical environment plays an important role in moral cognition. Previous research has demonstrated that the physical environment affects individual moral judgment. Investigators have argued that the environment influences moral judgment through emotion and cognition, such as during metaphor processing. Following the intensification of urbanization and increases in population size, the phenomenon of a narrow environment has become more common. However, the relation between environmental spaciousness and moral judgment has not been thoroughly examined. We examined the effect of environmental spaciousness (spaciousness vs. narrowness) on moral judgments in Experiment 1 and Experiment 2. Results showed that participants report a higher rating score of moral judgment in more spacious environments compared with narrow environments. We further explored the roles of emotion and metaphor in the relation between environmental spaciousness and moral judgments. We found support for a partial mediation effect of emotion in the relationship between environmental spaciousness and moral judgment. The results also supported an association between the concept of spaciousness and tolerant cognition. Spacious environments may elicit positive emotions and more tolerant cognition, which in turn influences moral judgment. These results provide new evidence for the influence of the environment on moral judgments, and more attention may be warranted to incorporate this relationship in environmental design.
... The role of 3D space in describing abstract concepts such as affect, goodness, power, rank, and value (Casasanto & Lozano, 2006;Meier & Robinson, 2004;Schubert, 2005) has particularly attracted a lot of attention among researchers. It has been shown that emotion-related words are placed in different areas of 3D space depending on their valence (Marmolejo-Ramos, Elosúa, Yamada, Hamm, & Noguchi, 2013;Montoro, Contreras, Elosúa, & Marmolejo-Ramos, 2015). ...
... Results of this study indicated that the concepts of joy, sadness, and surprise are associated with high, low, and intermediate vertical locations, respectively. Meier and Robinson (2004) found that understanding positive words facilitates the detection of upper stimuli, and understanding of negative words facilitates the detection of lower stimuli. Similarly, Xie, Wang, and Chang (2014) reported that positive words promote the discrimination of upper arrows, while negative words promote the discrimination of lower arrows. ...
... mapping. Indeed, literature shows that what is familiar is preferred and positively valued (e.g., Meyers-Levy, 1989) and that what is positively valued is metaphorically connected with up (e.g., Casasanto, 2009, Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, 1999, Meier & Robinson, 2004. Along this line of argument, a "good is up" mapping predicts that the greater the familiarity with fair-trade products, the more the participants are likely to place these products higher along the vertical axis when compared with conventional products; and, conversely, that the greater the familiarity with conventional products, the more the participants are likely to place these products higher along the vertical axis when compared with fair-trade products. ...
... t (162) = 20.54, p <.001, d = 2.97)(Meier, Hauser, Robinson, Friesen, & Schjeldahl, 2007a;Meier & Robinson, 2004). ...
Preprint
This article examines vertical dimension as a metaphorical representation of ethical consumption by testing the connection between ethical consumption and high verticality, and its implications for consumers when considering fair-trade products. This research first shows that the representation of ethical consumption in terms of high verticality manifests in a strong implicit association between moral virtues underpinning fair-trade consumption (e.g., justice, solidarity) and "up" (Study 1). This research then demonstrates that consumers explicitly associate fair-trade products with an elevated position (Study 2), and that a match between fair-trade products and increased physical elevation results in heightened altruistic behavior (Study 3). In addition, this article reveals that greater familiarity with fair-trade products enhances this metaphorical representation and its downstream effects on altruistic behavior (Studies 2 and 3). The theoretical and managerial implications of the present research are discussed in conclusion.
... At the same time, however, it should be noted that in order to qualify as a (food) ritual (Visser 1991), there needs to be a symbolic element to proceedings (Ratcliffe et al. 2019), as perhaps present when one asks for one's egg 'sunny-side up' (cf. Meier and Robinson 2004), or when one bites the limbs off of Gummy Bears. Birthday cake is often mentioned as another highly symbolic and ritualized food experience (Rossano 2012; see also Fox 2003). ...
... In Section 3 I highlight a number of factors that may act to negate the benefits of 1. One might also consider the correspondence or metaphorical mapping between elevation and positive affect (Meier and Robinson 2004), and/or the cross-modal correspondences that have been demonstrated between lightness and elevation (Sunaga et al. 2016), not to mention between sweetness and elevation (Velasco et al. 2019). ...
Article
Many of the mundane foods that we eat on an everyday basis are consumed in a manner that may be considered stereotypical, conventional, habitual or, on occasion, even a playful ritual. There are a number of reasons for such behaviours, and the potential benefits for the consumer are discussed in the case of vertically asymmetrical foods where the upper and lower surfaces differ. Maximizing the eye appeal of the food product, maximizing the multisensory flavour experience and the ubiquitous benefits of ritual to the enjoyment of consumption experiences are all put forward as possible explanations for such behaviours in this opinion piece. Ultimately, however, the paucity of empirical evidence concerning the influence of the manner of eating such ubiquitous foods (right way-up or upside-down) on the multisensory tasting experience is highlighted. This is a seemingly important lacuna in the food science literature, given the multiple competing explanations concerning how such experiences might be affected, if at all, that suggest themselves. Looking to the future, it would clearly be of great interest, given the growing global obesity crisis, to understand whether it might be possible to increase sensory enjoyment and/or satiety by the better/optimized design of foods and/or food consumption behaviours.
... p < .001, d = 2.97) (Meier, Hauser, Robinson, Friesen, & Schjeldahl, 2007a;Meier & Robinson, 2004). ...
... Moreover, analyses allowed us to rule out an alternative explanation in terms of "good is up" mapping. Indeed, literature shows that what is familiar is preferred and positively valued (e.g., Meyers-Levy, 1989) and that what is positively valued is metaphorically connected with up (e.g., Casasanto, 2009;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980;1999;;Meier & Robinson, 2004). Along this line of argument, a "good is up" mapping predicts that the greater the familiarity with fair-trade products, the more the participants are likely to place these products higher along the vertical axis when compared with conventional products; and, conversely, that the greater the familiarity with conventional products, the more the participants are likely to place these products higher along the vertical axis when compared with fair-trade products. ...
Article
This article examines vertical dimension as a metaphorical representation of ethical consumption by testing the connection between ethical consumption and high verticality, and its implications for consumers when considering fair-trade products. This research first shows that the representation of ethical consumption in terms of high verticality manifests in a strong implicit association between moral virtues underpinning fair-trade consumption (e.g., justice, solidarity) and “up” (Study 1). This research then demonstrates that consumers explicitly associate fair-trade products with an elevated position (Study 2), and that a match between fair-trade products and increased physical elevation results in heightened altruistic behavior (Study 3). In addition, this article reveals that greater familiarity with fair-trade products enhances this metaphorical representation and its downstream effects on altruistic behavior (Studies 2 and 3). The theoretical and managerial implications of the present research are discussed in conclusion.
... Finding that tonal syntax may engender systematic associations with perceptual space would be intriguing for two main reasons. First, while previous studies have already shown that abstract conceptual structures are modeled upon our experience of concrete physical dimensions [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] , music tonality differs in an important way Figure 1. Geometrical representation of perceived similarity between musical pitches within the octave in a tonal context. ...
... We speculate that this mapping can be explained, at least in part, via a conceptual metaphor of a considerably wider scope than the domain-specific metaphors for tonality: the "good is up" metaphor [4][5][6][7][8]10,11 . In line with this conjecture, previous research has linked tonal stability to valence [17][18][19] , and in particular, we 39 recently reported that more stable scale degrees are associated with happier facial expressions both explicitly and implicitly, using www.nature.com/scientificreports/ the same paradigms as in the present study. ...
Article
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Increasing evidence has uncovered associations between the cognition of abstract schemas and spatial perception. Here we examine such associations for Western musical syntax, tonality. Spatial metaphors are ubiquitous when describing tonality: stable, closural tones are considered to be spatially central and, as gravitational foci, spatially lower. We investigated whether listeners, musicians and nonmusicians, indeed associate tonal relationships with visuospatial dimensions, including spatial height, centrality, laterality, and size, implicitly or explicitly, and whether such mappings are consistent with established metaphors. In the explicit paradigm, participants heard a tonality-establishing prime followed by a probe tone and coupled each probe with a subjectively appropriate location (Exp.1) or size (Exp.4). The implicit paradigm used a version of the Implicit Association Test to examine associations of tonal stability with vertical position (Exp.2), lateral position (Exp3) and size (Exp.5). Tonal stability was indeed associated with perceived physical space: the spatial distances between the locations associated with different scale-degrees significantly correlated with the tonal stability differences between these scale-degrees. However, inconsistently with musical discourse, stable tones were associated with leftward (instead of central) and higher (instead of lower) spatial positions. We speculate that these mappings are influenced by emotion, embodying the “good is up” metaphor, and by the spatial structure of music keyboards. Taken together, the results demonstrate a new type of cross-modal correspondence and a hitherto under-researched connotative function of musical structure. Importantly, the results suggest that the spatial mappings of an abstract domain may be independent of the spatial metaphors used to describe that domain.
... The role of 3D space in describing abstract concepts such as affect, goodness, power, rank, and value (Casasanto & Lozano, 2006;Meier & Robinson, 2004;Schubert, 2005) has particularly attracted a lot of attention among researchers. It has been shown that emotion-related words are placed in different areas of 3D space depending on their valence (Marmolejo-Ramos, Elosúa, Yamada, Hamm, & Noguchi, 2013;Montoro, Contreras, Elosúa, & Marmolejo-Ramos, 2015). ...
... Results of this study indicated that the concepts of joy, sadness, and surprise are associated with high, low, and intermediate vertical locations, respectively. Meier and Robinson (2004) found that understanding positive words facilitates the detection of upper stimuli, and understanding of negative words facilitates the detection of lower stimuli. Similarly, Xie, Wang, and Chang (2014) reported that positive words promote the discrimination of upper arrows, while negative words promote the discrimination of lower arrows. ...
Article
Abstract: The domain of motion events is widely used to metaphorically describe abstract concepts, particularly emotional states. Why motion events are effective for describing abstract concepts is the question that this article intends to answer. In the literature of the field, several reasons have been suggested to be behind the suitability of motion events for describing these concepts, such as high concreteness of motion events, their high imageability, and the ability of comprehender to simultaneously imagine components of motion events. This article suggests that motion events are particularly effective for metaphorical description of those domains which have the feature of dynamic change over a period of time. This is particularly the case with emotional states. Since changes in emotions take place throughout a period of time, they could best be described by motion events which have the same feature. In other words, the continuous change in emotions is understood in terms of continuous change in the location of a moving object in the 3D space. Based on the arguments of embodied theories of cognition, it would be no surprise to see the involvement of similar areas of the brain in understanding emotions and motions.
... Recent research shows that physical parameters of stimulus presentation, especially orientation of stimuli in space, can have implications for interpretation of the same stimulus. For example, target concepts/objects shown at higher spatial locations (as compared to lower spatial locations) are identified easier and faster as powerful, or of positive valence (Meier & Robinson, 2004;Schubert, 2005). Likewise, target persons, objects, and scenarios shown on the left side in a display (as compared to the right side) are more often associated with initiative, forcefulness, i.e. agentic characteristics in general (Suitner & Maass, 2016). ...
... According to this, stimuli carrying power-related meanings (Schubert, 2005) will invoke a vertical hierarchy schema. As well, valence-related stimuli will invoke a vertical schema of good vs. bad (Meier & Robinson, 2004). Stimuli carrying an agency-related meaning (athletes, pictorial presentations of social interactions) will invoke a hoizontal schema of abstract agency (Suitner & Maass, 2016;Tversky et al., 1991). ...
Article
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Spatial configurations amongst stimuli can influence magnitude attributions. Someone’s acquired reading and writing direction (RWD) can provide a spatial schema of primacy extending from left (maximum) to right (minimum) for Westerners and opposite for leftward RWD languages. Primacy information can be transformed into a magnitude attribution regarding a feature quality, perceiving an object as having “more” of a certain quality for Westerners when positioned left amongst two similar objects, likewise when positioned right for people with a right-to-left RWD. Results showed that native English speakers tended to attribute greater magnitude of a given feature in fictitious products displayed left within a pair, indicating which of two products was “most” representative of a certain quality (Experiment 1a) but they would randomly choose when asked which product represented “least” of the quality (Experiment 1b). A similar, but reversed pattern of effects was obtained for Farsi participants only familiar with Farsi (Experiment 2).
... It is an open question whether this effect would also extend into other aspects of non-linguistic cognition such as attention and memory, as it has been shown for English (e.g. Crawford et al. 2006;Meier and Robinson 2004), or if other metaphors diverging from the linguistically attested ones would prevail (cf. Casasanto 2011;Casasanto and Bottini 2014). ...
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Spatial metaphors of affect display remarkable consistencies across languages in mapping sensorimotor experiences onto emotional states, reflecting a great degree of similarity in how our bodies register affect. At the same time, however, affect is complex and there is more than a single possible mapping from vertical spatial concepts to affective states. Here we consider a previously unreported case of spatial metaphors mapping down onto desirable, and up undesirable emotional experiences in Mlabri, an Austroasiatic language of Thailand and Laos, making a novel contribution to the study of metaphor and Cognitive Linguistics. Using first-hand corpus and elicitation data, we examine the metaphorical expressions: klol jur ‘heart going down’ and klol khɯn ‘heart going up’/klol kɔbɔ jur ‘heart not going down’. Though reflecting a metaphorical mapping opposite to the commonly reported happy is up metaphor, which is said to link to universal bodily correlates of emotion, the Mlabri metaphors are far from idiosyncratic. Rather, they are grounded in the bodily experience of positive low-arousal states, and in that reflect an emic view of ideal affect centered on contentment and tranquility. This underscores the complexity of bodily experience of affect, demonstrating that cultures draw on the available sensorimotor correlates of emotion in distinct ways.
... People often experience events associated with vertical-space positions in daily life (e.g., Olympic champions stand on the top position when they take their prizes). Whether the notion of the inherent spatial nature can be generalized to other conceptual domains associated with verticality, such as valence (e.g., Meier & Robinson, 2004;Nair, Sagar, Sollers, Consedine, & Broadbent, 2015) and emotion (Cian, Krishna, & Schwarz, 2015;Fetterman & Robinson, 2013), needs to be investigated in future work using the current paradigm. ...
... These researchers argued that many metaphors operate by mapping abstract concepts into more concrete concepts, reflecting basic physical properties of the world. For example, words with a positive valence are categorized more rapidly when presented at the top of the screen (as compared to when they are presented at the bottom) and responses to words with negative valence are responded to more quickly when the word happens to be presented at the bottom of the screen (as compared to the top) (Meier & Robinson, 2004). Metaphor congruency effects have been demonstrated across a range of conceptual and perceptual representations in binary classification tasks discriminating between moral and immoral terms (Meier, Sellbom, & Wygant, 2007), and power vs. ...
Preprint
Linking arbitrary shapes (e.g., circles, squares, and triangles) to personal labels (e.g., self, friend, or stranger) or reward values (e.g., £18, £6, or £2) results in immediate processing benefits for those stimuli that happen to be associated with the self or high rewards in perceptual matching tasks. Here we further explored how social and reward associations interact with multisensory stimuli by pairing labels and objects with tones (low, medium, and high tones). We also investigated whether self and reward biases persist for multisensory stimuli with the label removed after an association had been made. Both high reward stimuli and those associated with the self, resulted in faster responses and improved discriminability (i.e., higher d'), which persisted for multisensory stimuli even when the labels were removed. However, these self- and reward-biases partly depended on the specific alignment between the physical tones (low, medium, and high) and the conceptual (social or reward) order. Performance for reward associations improved when the endpoints of low or high rewards were paired with low or high tones; meanwhile, for personal associations, there was a benefit when the self was paired with either low or high tones, but there was no effect when the stranger was associated with either endpoint. These results indicate that, unlike reward, social personal associations are not represented along a continuum with two marked endpoints (i.e., self and stranger) but rather with a single reference point (the self vs. other).
... This paradigm introduces visual spatial attention as an indicator of automatic activation of the perceptive motion system. Previous studies have used similar paradigms to determine the metaphorical relationship among abstract concepts, such as morality, social status, power, generation, and time, and spatial concepts (e.g., Meier and Robinson, 2004;Zanolie et al., 2012;Ijzerman et al., 2013;Wang and Lu, 2013;Wu and Wang, 2014;He D. et al., 2018). In addition, we also referenced and combined the research procedures of Sell andKaschak (2011) andWalker et al. (2017). ...
Article
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concepts can be represented in the brain by means of metaphors. Generation refers to seniority in the family or clan, implies the implementation of different attitudes required by kinship, and contains profound psychological, emotional, and social factors. Generation as an abstract concept is related to concepts such as power, social status, importance, and time. The conceptual metaphor theory based on the embodied theory proposes that abstract concepts are represented by actual sensorimotor experiences. Generation implied in Han kin terms is often represented by multiple spatial terms. According to conceptual metaphor theory, the current study predicted that generation could be represented by multiple spatial metaphors. We designed six experiments to investigate this issue. The results showed that (1) the up–down and left–right positions in which kinship words were presented affected the processing of the concept of generation; (2) the processing of kinship words also affected up–down and left–right spatial information perception; and (3) the processing of the concept of generation could also automatically activate the front–back spatial operation and induce the embodied simulation of body movement. In sum, the results suggested that generation might be represented by the three-dimensional spatial metaphor of vertical, horizontal, and sagittal axes, which are influenced by the sensorimotor system.
... On the lateral axis, the past is on the left and the future on the right (e.g., Torralbo et al., 2006). Similarly, for valence, such spatial associations are assumed both for the vertical axis (up-down; Meier and Robinson, 2004) and for the horizontal axis (left-right; Casasanto, 2009). Some of these mappings manifest themselves in linguistic expressions. ...
Article
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The present study examines whether deictic time and valence are mentally associated, with a link between future and positive valence and a link between past and negative valence. We employed a novel paradigm, the two-choice-sentence-completion paradigm, to address this issue. Participants were presented with an initial sentence fragment that referred to an event that was either located in time (future or past) or of different valence (positive or negative). Participants chose between two completion phrases. When the given dimension in the initial fragment was time, the two completion phrase alternatives differed in valence (positive vs. negative). However, when the given dimension in the initial fragment was valence, the two completion phrase alternatives differed in time (future vs. past). As expected, participants chose completion phrases consistent with the proposed association between time and valence. Additional analyses involving individual differences concerning optimism/pessimism revealed that this association is particularly pronounced for people with an optimistic attitude.
... These results were interpreted as an index for the mental association strength: quicker reaction times meant stronger relationship [16]. According to this interpretation, Meier and Robinson [18] found that participants were quicker to categorize positive words when these appeared at the top of the screen, whereas the opposite were true for the negative words (shorter reaction time when they appeared at the bottom). ...
Conference Paper
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Spatial abilities allow humans to perceive and act in the world around them. Combining technology with a wide used neuropsychological test, the E-Baking Tray Task have proved to be very versatile and useful. Here we examine its properties and potentialities, trying to propose new challenges in visuospatial cognition. Firstly, we address to actual algorithms of data analysis and propose new ones. Then we propose several new variables that could be inspected related to spatial exploration measured with this new device: verticality, stress, emotions, explored areas in peri-personal space and so on.
... These results were interpreted as an index for the mental association strength: quicker reaction times meant stronger mental associations [37]. According to this interpretation, Meier and Robinson [39] found that participants were quicker to categorize positive words when these appeared at the top of the screen whereas the opposite was true for the negative words (shorter reaction time when they appeared at the bottom). ...
Article
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The Baking Tray Task is an ecological task developed for the assessment of unilateral neglect that can also be used for research on neurotypical participants. In this task, participants are asked to place 16 objects inside a board as evenly as possible. In the case of impaired spatial exploration, consequent to right attentional networks damage, asymmetrical object disposition is observed as more objects are placed on the ipsilesional side (typically the right side). The E-BTT is a technology-enhanced version of the Baking Tray Task, implemented with a software platform, E-TAN, which detects the objects and automatically computes their spatial coordinates. This allows a complement to the traditional scoring methods with new measures to extract richer information from the data. In this study, we focus on neurotypical participants to explore if some new indexes, derived from the literature review on similar tasks, can be applied to BTT and E-BTT for research aims. A principal component analysis (PCA) was then performed to verify if these new indexes reflect some common dimensions. Results indicate the emergence of two principal dimensions: spatiality, which summarizes both laterality and verticality, and quality, which regards the explored space and (dis)organization in placing the items.
... A solid body of research has investigated the matter and "up" in spatial terms is, in fact, metaphorically associated to goodness and value: people are quicker to categorize positive words as "good" when positioned at the top of a computer screen and negative words as "bad" when placed in the lower portion (Meier & Robinson, 2004). ...
Thesis
Several studies in past lines of research have demonstrated the detrimental impact of derogatory terms, epithets and slurs on stereotyping and prejudice towards minorities. In an attempt to broaden previous findings, we investigated the influence of positive labels attributed to the majority group on the perception on a minority group member. Primarily, we anticipated that the use of the label “straight”, rather than “heterosexual”, might convey an implicit, strong association between the social majority group and a sense of moral rectitude, which might prompt a negative response to homosexual men. In order to test the hypothesis, we conducted two experimental studies involving heterosexual subjects, where a social majority target was presented as “straight” (vs. “heterosexual”); next, we assessed participants’ attitudes towards a minority-group representative social target (i.e., a homosexual male). The analysis revealed a negative effect of the label “straight” on attitudes towards the minority group member only for strongly religious individuals.
... Some of the cultural values in Western society that are acknowledged to be coherent with the up-down spatial metaphors are more is better (coherent with more is up and good is up), or bigger is better (coherent with more is up and good is up). Meier & Robinson (2004), who parted from Piaget & Inhelder's research (1969), dictate that when children develop their senses, they also establish connections between sensory experiences and abstract feelings. This theory could be applied for instance to linking tastes with personality traits (e.g. ...
Article
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Conceptual Metaphor Theory developed by Lakoff & Johnson (1980) suggested that we use metaphors to evaluate and communicate in our various environments. Although metaphors encompass a large variety of taxonomies, orientational metaphors are those that rely on spatial position to map concepts into other ones, referring to a relation of valence and verticality. Stated by Kövecses (2010) conceptual metaphors such orientational ones draw ‘upward’ and ‘downward’ spatial positions in which ‘upward’ is usually referred to as having positive connotations, whereby their opposites, ‘downwards’, are understood as negative. This paper seeks to unveil how the orientational metaphor good is up is employed in a filmic narrative of a language learning application for technological devices named Babbel. The present analysis is developed under the application of FILMIP (Filmic Metaphor Identification Procedure, Bort-Mir 2019). In the analyzed narrative, the orientational metaphor good is up is represented in the Babbel TV commercial (2018) as a tool for persuading customers that the best way of escalating positions at work is by learning new languages. This analysis demonstrates how orientational metaphors in multimodal media emerge as a convenient device for marketing campaigns in the context of social status improvement.
... These researchers argued that many metaphors operate by mapping abstract concepts into more concrete concepts, reflecting basic physical properties of the world. For example, words with a positive valence are categorized more rapidly when presented at the top of the screen (as compared to when they are presented at the bottom) and responses to words with negative valence are responded to more quickly when the word happens to be presented at the bottom of the screen (as compared to the top) (Meier and Robinson, 2004). Metaphor congruency effects have been demonstrated across a range of conceptual and perceptual representations in binary classification tasks discriminating between moral and immoral terms (Meier et al., 2007), and power vs. powerlessness (Schubert, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
Linking arbitrary shapes (e.g., circles, squares, and triangles) to personal labels (e.g., self, friend, or stranger) or reward values (e.g., £18, £6, or £2) results in immediate processing benefits for those stimuli that happen to be associated with the self or high rewards in perceptual matching tasks. Here we further explored how social and reward associations interact with multisensory stimuli by pairing labels and objects with tones (low, medium, and high tones). We also investigated whether self and reward biases persist for multisensory stimuli with the label removed after an association had been made. Both high reward stimuli and those associated with the self, resulted in faster responses and improved discriminability (i.e., higher d'), which persisted for multisensory stimuli even when the labels were removed. However, these self-and reward-biases partly depended on the specific alignment between the physical tones (low, medium, and high) and the conceptual (social or reward) order. Performance for reward associations improved when the endpoints of low or high rewards were paired with low or high tones; meanwhile, for personal associations, there was a benefit when the self was paired with either low or high tones, but there was no effect when the stranger was associated with either endpoint. These results indicate that, unlike reward, social personal associations are not represented along a continuum with two marked endpoints (i.e., self and stranger) but rather with a single reference point (the self vs. other).
... This is suggested both by commonplace language metaphors or idioms associating the two domains (e.g., I am feeling down or high, cheer up, it's going downhill; refs 15,30), and by behavioral measures. For instance, the valence of words presented to participants affects spatio-visual attention: positive words shift attention upwards, and negative words shift attention downwards [31]. Correspondingly, moving objects up or down enhances recall of positive and negative episodic memories [32][33][34] and learning of novel positive and negative words, respectively [35,36]. ...
Preprint
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Musicians ubiquitously apply spatial metaphors when describing the stability hierarchy established by tonal syntax: stable tones are considered spatially central and, as gravitational foci, spatially lower. We investigated whether listeners, musicians and non-musicians, indeed associate tonal relationships with visuospatial dimensions, including spatial height, centrality, laterality, and size, and whether such mappings are consistent with tonal discourse. We examined explicit and implicit associations. In the explicit paradigm, participants heard a tonality-establishing prime followed by a probe tone and coupled each probe with a subjectively appropriate location on a two-dimensional grid (Exp. 1) or with one of 7 circles differing in size (Exp. 4). The implicit paradigm used a version of the Implicit Association Test to examine associations of tonal stability with vertical position (Exp. 2), lateral position (Exp. 3) and object size (Exp. 5). Tonal stability was indeed as- sociated with perceived physical space: the spatial distances between the locations associated with different scale-degrees significantly correlated with the tonal stability differences between these scale degrees. However, inconsistently with the hypotheses implied by musical discourse, stable tones were associated with leftward and higher spatial positions, relative to unstable tones, rather than with central and lower spatial positions. We speculate that these mappings are influenced by emotion, embodying the “good is up” metaphor, and by the spatial structure of music keyboards. Taken together, results suggest that abstract syntactical relationships may consistently map onto concrete perceptual dimensions across modalities, demonstrating a new type of cross-modal cor- respondence and a hitherto under-researched connotative function of musical structure.
... pl. MEIER-ROBINSON 2004, LU és mtsai 2014. ...
Book
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This book presents the several aspects of name giving and name usage within a cognitive framework, using the most influential theories of cognitive linguistics, primarily RONALD LANGACKER’s cognitive grammar and GEORGE LAKOFF’s conceptual metaphor and conceptual metonymy theories. In addition, JOAN BYBEE’s network model and SÁNDOR N. SZILÁGYI’s theory of the linguistic world model will appear in certain sections. The study consists of three larger units. The first part introduces how names and different proper name types exist in the mental system, while also illustrating new solutions provided by the cognitive perspective in connection with old questions of name theory. There are also attempts to incorporate psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic experimental results into the cognitive description of proper names. Using the cognitive approach, aspects of name usage are also analyzed that have not appeared in onomastic research before. To illustrate this innovation, section 2 introduces two new research areas and through specific studies presents some of the new opportunities they offer. The third large unit reinterprets characteristic types of name creation within the selected cognitive framework.
... Since the initial work in cognitive linguistics, extensive experimental research has illuminated how abstract concepts are understood in terms of metaphorically related concrete domains (for a review, see Landau, Meier, & Keefer, 2010). For instance, interpersonal warmth is often understood in terms of physical warmth (Williams & Bargh, 2008); importance is understood in terms of physical weight (Ackerman, Nocera, & Bargh, 2010;Chandler, Reinhard, & Schwarz, 2012;Jostmann, Lakens, & Schubert, 2009); valence and power are related to verticality (Meier & Robinson, 2004;Schubert, 2005), and so are God and Devil related concepts (Meier, Hauser, Robinson, Friesen, & Schjeldahl, 2007). As many conceptual metaphors are learned via linguistic experience, linguistic framing of an abstract concept via the use of metaphoric expressions can also activate a metaphoric representation of the abstract concept and influence reasoning (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980;Landau, Sullivan, & Greenberg, 2009; for reviews, see Gibbs, 2014;Ottati, Renstrom, & Price, 2014). ...
Thesis
How do humans understand the meaning of words? Generative views of language presume that word meanings are stored in a mental lexicon and retrieved when a word is encountered. On the other hand, new research on language suggests that word meanings are heavily derived from and dependent upon situational context. Furthermore, new research on situated social cognition emphasizes the situated nature of human reasoning, showing how stable thought processes are actually highly sensitive to context and situations. In this dissertation, I argue that humans construct mental representations of word meaning by drawing upon contextual and situational information, in line with both new research on language and views of situated social cognition. I present three papers that support this hypothesis. In chapter two, I demonstrate how people draw upon surface metaphors relating cancer to an enemy to understand cancer and how to prevent it. In chapter three, I show that people draw upon incidental sensory states of heaviness to infer whether a book’s synopsis relays its importance. And in chapter four, I establish that the generalized affect of a word’s collocational profile (i.e., its semantic prosody) guides meaning inferences. The final (fifth) chapter summarizes factors that guide what meaning is interpreted from words and statements. These factors are organized at different levels of analysis (word-, sentence-, text-, and reader-level), and come from a variety of disciplines. The model ultimately demonstrates that inferences of meaning are highly sensitive to context, and implications for social psychology are discussed.
... There is also a growing number of counter examples to conceptual metaphor explanations. For example, people have assumed that a 'Good is UP' primary metaphor (e.g., Meier & Robinson, 2004) can impact people's linguistic and evaluative judgements, but other empirical work shows that these behavioural patterns are better accounted for by relationship between stimulus and response dimensions (Lakens, 2012;Lynott & Coventry, 2014) and do not require any assumptions about conceptual metaphors at all. 13 Within the metaphor theories, there is an increasing awareness that the relation between cross-linguistic universality versus variation in the use of metaphors is complicated and needs to be taken seriously. Kövecses (2005: 4), who has done extensive work on this issue, suggests that a cognitive linguistic view of metaphors needs to integrate several important additional claims, such as, among others, the following ones: -universal experiences do not necessarily lead to universal metaphors; -bodily experience may be selectively used in the creation of metaphors; -bodily experience may be overridden by both culture and cognitive processes; and -primary metaphors are not necessarily universal. ...
Article
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The last decade saw rapid growth of the body of work devoted to relations between social thermoregulation and various other domains, with a particular focus on the connection between prosociality and physical warmth. This paper reports on a first systematic cross-linguistic study of the exponents of conceptual metaphor AFFECTION IS WARMTH (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Grady, 1997), which provides the motivation for the large share of research in this area. Assumed to be universal, it enables researchers, mostly speakers of major European languages, to treat words like warm and cold as self-evident and easily translatable between languages – both in their concrete uses (to feel warm/cold) and as applied to interpersonal relationships (a cold/warm person, warm feelings, etc.). Based on a sample of 94 languages from all around the world and using methodology borrowed from typological linguistics and mixed-effects regression modelling, we show that the relevant expressions show a remarkably skewed distribution and seem to be absent or extremely marginal in the majority of language families and linguistic macro-areas. The study demonstrates once again the dramatic influence of the Anglocentric, Standard Average European, and WEIRD perspectives on many of the central concepts and conclusions in linguistics, psychology, and cognitive research and discusses how changing this perspective can impact research in social psychology in general and in social thermoregulation in particular.
... Many people tend to associate dark color with death (Mionel, 2020;Stone, 2006;Sun, 2018), which leads to potential negative emotions (e.g., fear, sadness). Furthermore, previous research showed that visual darkness can influence individual behavior through conceptual metaphor, moral concept (Sherman & Clore, 2009), or emotional value (Meier & Robinson, 2004). In addition to the influence on moral judgment and behavior, some researchers suggested that darkness also provokes a range of affective responses (Edensor & Falconer, 2015), and the impact of darkness on emotion is the key to the dark experience. ...
Article
Research in dark tourism has been ongoing for over two decades. Although in practice, many dark tourism destinations adjusted the lighting of the display environment to influence tourist experience, little is known about the sensory stimulation of non-text related content (e.g., lighting of the environment or darkness of visual materials) on dark tourists' psychological experience. This study examined the influence of visual darkness on tourists' dark experience and explored the relationship between visual darkness and psychological darkness through a content analysis of online comments and photos for 30 dark tourism destinations worldwide, followed by four experiments. Results showed that the stimulation of visual darkness affected dark tourists’ psychological experience and behavioral intentions (including recommendation intention and touch preference), and such embodied effect existed in both two-dimensional plane and three-dimensional space. The study provides many practical implications for experience creation of dark tourism destinations.
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Research on metaphors has shown that individuals form associations between the verticality, brightness, and distance of stimuli and their valence. Building on the literature on conceptual metaphor theory, the pitch-valence hypothesis predicts an association between the pitch of spoken words and their valence. A study was conducted recording participants’ accuracy and response latencies in identifying positive and negative words that were spoken in high and low pitches to see whether pitch affects the accuracy and speed when choosing words that systematically vary in their semantic valence. The results supported the pitch-valence hypothesis by revealing systematic differences in performance. The observed effects were mainly due to participants’ accuracies when words were presented in a high pitch.
Article
An eye-tracking while listening study based on the blank screen paradigm was conducted to investigate the processing of literal and metaphorical verbs of motion. The study was based on two assumptions from the literature: that language comprehension by default engages mental simulation, and that looking behavior (measured through patterns of eye movements) can provide a window into ongoing cognitive processes. This study specifically compared the comprehension of sentences that depicted actual physical motion (the curtain is rising) and sentences that described changes in quantity or emotional states in terms of vertical motion (prices are rising). Results showed that eye movements were selectively biased upward or downward in accordance with the direction implied by the verb, regardless of the context (literal or metaphorical) in which they appeared, and in the absence of any visual stimuli or explicit task. Thus, these findings suggest that literal and metaphorical language drive spontaneous, direction-specific mental simulations captured by eye movements and that at least in the case of verbs presented in the present progressive, which emphasizes the ongoing nature of actions, visual biases along the vertical axis may start during the verb itself.
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The embodied approach to meaning posits that the comprehension of words, sentences and discourse (especially narrative) reuses the neural systems of perception, action and emotion. The most recent data of neuroscience support this idea. Particularly, neuroimaging and brain electrophysiology confirm that action-related language involves activations of motor and premotor cortex. However, critics of embodiment consider these data inconclusive, since they are merely correlational and do not demonstrate causal links between motor resonance and linguistic meaning (v.g., Mahon & Caramazza, 2008; Mahon, 2015; Dove, 2016; Ostarek & Huettig, 2019). Furthermore, they suggest that meaning is processed in a general-purpose semantic hub, and sensory-motor activations would not play any functional role. This article offers strong new evidence of causality; that is, motor activations would be substantial part of meaning. First, Parkinson patients not only have impaired motor behavior, but also show selective difficulties in the use of action verbs. Secondly, when participants read texts, keeping their hands behind the back, their recall of action sentences is impaired. Thirdly, applying excitatory non-invasive brain stimulation over the motor cortex improves memory for action language. Finally, the article briefly discusses the functional advantages of embodied meaning, and also addresses abstract language, one of the challenges of the embodied approach.
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Space-valence metaphors (e.g., bad is down) are embedded within cognitive and emotional processing (e.g., negative stimuli at a lower space capture visual attention more than those at an upper space). Previous studies have revealed that motor action to vertical direction affects the emotional valence rating of stimuli in a metaphor-congruent manner only when the action was introduced after the stimuli presentation. In the present study, we hypothesized that motor action before the stimuli presentation does not affect valence rating while it may affect visual selective attention. In Experiment 1 (participants: 28 university students; mean age = 19.50 years), we partially replicated the previous result with repeated ANOVA and t-tests; manual action introduced before the stimuli presentation does not affect the valence rating. Then, in Experiment 2 (participants: 28 university students; mean age = 19.57 years), we employed a modified version of the dot-probe task as a measure of visual selective attention to emotional stimuli, where participants’ vertical or horizontal manual action was introduced before the presentation of a pair of emotional words. The results of the t-tests revealed that an upward manual action promoting selective attention to negative words, which was incongruent with the space-valence metaphorical correspondence. These results suggest that even though manual action does not affect the evaluative process of emotional stimuli prospectively, upward manual action introduced before stimuli presentation can promote visual attention to the subsequent negative stimuli in a way that is incongruent with the space-valence metaphor.
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We analyze sign locations in 776 signs from 16 antonym pairs across 27 sign languages to examine metaphorical mappings of emotional valence (positive vs. negative) along different spatial axes. We conduct both an automatic and a manual analysis of sign location and movement direction, to investigate cross-linguistic patterns of spatial valence contrasts. Contrary to our hypothesis, negative valence concepts are generally articulated higher up than their positive counterparts. However, when we consider movement in space, we find that although signs generally move downward over time, positive valence concepts are associated with upward movements more often than their negative counterparts. This points to a systematic pattern for vertical valence contrasts – a known metaphor across languages – iconically mapped onto physical sign articulation. We similarly, but surprisingly, find a difference in movements along the sagittal axis, such that outward movement is associated with positive valence concepts more often than negative.
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There is growing evidence showing that power is represented as height in adults’ mind. However, it remains unknown at what age children can activate such spatial representation of power spontaneously during an incidental task without explicit power evaluation. This study investigated the development of the power-spatial representation during an incidental task without explicit power evaluation. Participants were Chinese children in primary school, children in high school and adults. The results revealed that vertical information interfered with semantic judgments of power words only for children in high school and adults. This might be due to the reason that explicit instructions about the power-space associations did not appear in textbooks before high school. The findings suggested that children did not have automatic access to the spatial representation of power until high school.
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Emoji are vastly becoming an integral part of everyday communication, yet little is understood about the extent to which these are processed emotionally. Previous research shows that there is a processing advantage for emotionally-valenced words over neutral ones, therefore if emoji are indeed emotional, one could expect an equivalent processing advantage. In the Pilot Study, participants (N = 44) completed a lexical decision task to explore accuracy and response latency of word, face and emoji stimuli. This stimuli varied in emotional valence (positive vs. neutral). Main effects were found for stimuli type and valence on both accuracy and latency, although the interaction for accuracy was not significant. That is, there were processing advantages of positively-valenced stimuli over neutral ones, across all stimuli types. Also, faces and emoji were processed significantly more quickly than words, and latencies between face and emoji stimuli, irrespective of valence were largely equivalent. The Main Study recruited 33 participants to undertake a modified and extended version of the lexical decision task, which included three valence conditions (positive, negative and neutral) per stimuli type. Although no main effects were found for accuracy, there was a significant main effect found for stimuli but not for valence on latency. Namely, that word stimuli irrespective of valence were processed significantly more slowly than face or emoji stimuli. There was not a significant interaction between stimuli and valence, however. Therefore, overall although there was partial support for a processing advantage of emoji stimuli, this was not replicated across the studies reported here, suggesting additional work may be needed to corroborate further evidence.
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Previous evidence shows that words with implicit spatial meaning or metaphorical spatial associations are perceptually simulated and can guide attention to associated locations (e.g., bird – upward location). In turn, simulated representations interfere with visual perception at an associated location. The present study investigates the effect of spatial associations on short-term verbal recognition memory to disambiguate between modal and amodal accounts of spatial interference effects across two experiments. Participants in both experiments encoded words presented in congruent and incongruent locations. Congruent and incongruent locations were based on an independent norming task. In Experiment 1, an auditorily presented word probed participants’ memory as they were visually cued to either the original location of the probe word or a diagonal location at retrieval. In Experiment 2, there was no cue at retrieval but a neutral encoding condition in which words normed to central locations were shown. Results show that spatial associations affected memory performance although spatial information was neither relevant nor necessary for successful retrieval: Words in Experiment 1 were retrieved more accurately when there was a visual cue in the congruent location at retrieval but only if they were encoded in a non-canonical position. A visual cue in the congruent location slowed down memory performance when retrieving highly imageable words. With no cue at retrieval (Experiment 2), participants were better at remembering spatially congruent words as opposed to neutral words. Results provide evidence in support of sensorimotor simulation in verbal memory and a perceptual competition account of spatial interference effect.
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In everyday language, abstract concepts are described in terms of concrete physical experiences (e.g., good things are “up”; the past is “behind” us). Stimuli congruent with such conceptual metaphors are processed faster than stimuli that are not. Since ease of processing enhances aesthetic pleasure, stimuli should be perceived as more pleasing when their presentation matches (rather than mismatches) the metaphorical mapping. In six experiments, speakers of English (Experiment 1-3a) and Farsi (Experiment 3b and 4) viewed valence- and time-related photos in arrangements congruent and incongruent with their metaphorical mapping. Consistent with the valence-verticality metaphor in both languages, English and Farsi speakers preferred visual arrangements that placed the happy photo above the sad photo. In contrast, participants’ preferences for time-related photos were moderated by the direction of writing. English speakers, who write from left to right, preferred arrangements that placed past-themed photos to the left of modern-themed photos; this was not observed for Farsi speakers, who write from right to left as well as left to right. In sum, identical stimuli enjoy an aesthetic advantage when their spatial arrangement matches the spatial ordering implied by applicable conceptual metaphors.
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The study examines metaphor selection for the same abstract concept when multiple concrete dimensions are available for use. Drawing on the power concept, four studies investigated the roles of attention and visual features of concrete dimensions in metaphoric mapping. In Studies 1 and 2, two concrete dimensions (vertical space and size) were visually connected to power-related target words simultaneously, and one was salient. Attention driven by stimulus saliency allowed the attended concrete dimension to have a higher activation level and to be used. In Studies 3 and 4, the attended and the non-attended concrete dimensions were presented separately, and the latter was visually associated with power-related target words. This time, the attended dimension did not have an activation advantage, allowing the non-attended dimension to be used for metaphoric mapping simultaneously. The findings suggest that attention is important, but not necessary, and that features of concrete dimensions can guide metaphor use.
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Current researchers pay less attention to the image position and layout of tweets containing multiple images. This study explored the impact of image position and layout on user engagement on the Weibo platform. The XGBoost model trained on single‐image tweet data was used to predict the “user engagement potential” of images in multi‐image tweets. Then, the image position and layout effects on user engagement were analyzed through correlation analysis and OLS regression. It was found that the right position was more important in tweets with less than or equal to 4 images, and the position effects became symmetric with image adding. Layouts with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 images had positive effects on user engagement, while layouts with 7 and 9 or more images had negative effects. This study provides insights for user engagement with social media images and may help improve interaction.
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В когнитивной психологии широко известна гипотеза лингвистической относительности Э.Сепира и Б.Л.Уорфа, согласно которой существует связь между тем, как устроен определенный язык, и тем, как функционируют познавательные процессы его носителя. В настоящее время все еще распространены две версии данной гипотезы: сильная – о том, что язык определяет познавательные процессы, и слабая – о том, что язык лишь обуславливает функционирование познавательных процессов человека. Существует множество эмпирических подтверждений в поддержку обеих версий данной гипотезы.
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Despite emoji often being assumed to be a form of emotional communication, the emotional affordances of these are not yet fully established. The current study employed the Emoji Spatial Stroop Task to explore whether spatial iconicity affects semantic-relatedness judgments relating to emoji stimuli. Namely, emoji stimuli were displayed in various vertical positions and valence perceptions were measured. A 3 (emoji valence; positive, negative, neutral) x 3 (vertical position; upper, lower, central) within-participants design was used to determine the impacts on valence perceptions. Valence perceptions were obtained from ratings on how positive/negative participants perceived stimuli to be on an 11-point Likert scale (−5 negative, 0 neutral and +5 positive). Findings from 157 participants revealed that, after controlling for current mood, both emoji valence and their vertical positioning impacted significantly on valence ratings. The valence × positioning interaction effect was also significant, highlighting a congruence effect whereby positive emoji in higher vertical space were rated significantly more positively than when in central or lower space, and negative emoji were rated significantly more negatively when displayed in lower vertical space compared to central or upper space. These congruence effects suggest we may embody emoji as symbolic objects to represent abstract emotional concepts.
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Multiple tasks have been used to demonstrate the relation between numbers and space. The classic interpretation of these directional spatial-numerical associations (d-SNAs) is that they are the product of a mental number line (MNL), in which numerical magnitude is intrinsically associated with spatial position. The alternative account is that d-SNAs reflect task demands, such as explicit numerical judgments and/or categorical responses. In the novel ‘Where was The Number?’ task, no explicit numerical judgments were made. Participants were simply required to reproduce the location of a numeral within a rectangular space. Using a between-subject design, we found that numbers, but not letters, biased participants’ responses along the horizontal dimension, such that larger numbers were placed more rightward than smaller numbers, even when participants completed a concurrent verbal working memory task. These findings are consistent with the MNL account, such that numbers specifically are inherently left-to-right oriented in Western participants.
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Drawing on the conceptual metaphor theory and national cultural values (masculinity and power distance), a field experiment was conducted to promote an experiential product to 4,108 consumers in the UK and in the US. The research contributions are novel in three ways: first, the digital advertising literature is extended into the international business domain by using metaphoric representations of cultural values; second, consumer digital engagement is examined through a lens of cultural values; and third, a real digital product and actual consumer data were used to conduct a field experiment with real-time data collected across two countries. The findings suggest that consumers do not automatically engage with metaphors that are aligned with their cultural values, but marketers can increase consumer digital engagement by using metaphors to remind consumers of their cultural values. This study has implications in terms of effective digital advertisement designs that engage consumers in different cultural contexts.
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We introduce the Bicolor Affective Silhouettes and Shapes (BASS): a set of 583 normed black-and-white silhouette images that is freely available via https://osf.io/anej6/ . Valence and arousal ratings were obtained for each image from US residents as a Western population ( n = 777) and Chinese residents as an Asian population ( n = 869). Importantly, the ratings demonstrate that, notwithstanding their visual simplicity, the images represent a wide range of affective content (from very negative to very positive, and from very calm to very intense). In addition, speaking to their cultural neutrality, the valence ratings correlated very highly between US and Chinese ratings. Arousal ratings were less consistent between the two samples, with larger discrepancies in the older age groups inviting further investigation. Due to their simplistic and abstract nature, our silhouette images may be useful for intercultural studies, color and shape perception research, and online stimulus presentation in particular. We demonstrate the versatility of the BASS by an example online experiment.
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Cette recherche suggère que les métaphores conceptuelles aident à la valorisation du commerce responsable. Les résultats d’une expérimentation testant l’impact de métaphores conceptuelles sur les attitudes des consommateurs vis-à-vis du commerce équitable sont rapportés. Ils montrent que certaines métaphores exercent une influence sur l’importance sociétale perçue du commerce équitable et la disposition à payer. Ces enseignements sont discutés aux plans théorique et managérial pour les acteurs des filières responsables opérant dans des contextes marketing variés.
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Competing models have been proposed to explain Christ’s atonement and its significance. Each model proffers its own rational merits, but embodied experiences lead us to intuit differently the plausibility of various metaphors by which we then reason about the atonement. An updated Christus Victor account from a neurotheological perspective intends to draw out stronger intuitions toward its plausibility by leaning into the sciences of unconscious cognition, epigenetics, embodiment, and dynamical systems theory, as well as environmental, technological, and relational influences. These unveil our vulnerability to forces outside our conscious control and explain not only our deformation (enslavement), but also the pathway toward transformation (victory), which resonates with Christus Victor motifs. Theological reflections are offered toward greater embodied and ecclesial integration of topics such as sanctification, sin, and salvation. In short, a neurotheological perspective of Christus Victor has the resources to complement a modern atonement theology that is more consonant with the psychology of lived experience.
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Reports 2 experiments that test whether both emotional and nonemotional feelings may be influenced by uninterpreted proprioceptive input. The logic of the procedure was adopted from studies by F. Strack et al (1988), who unobtrusively manipulated people's facial expressions. In the 1st experiment, a functionally equivalent technique was used to vary the posture of the body. Study 1 results revealed that success at an achievement task led to greater feelings of pride if the outcome was received in an upright position rather than in a slumped posture. Study 2 results revealed that nonemotional feelings of effort were influenced by contraction of the forehead muscle (corrugator), and Ss' self-ratings on a trait dimension reflected this experience when the facial contraction was maintained during the recall of behavioral episodes exemplifying this trait. To account for these results, a framework is proposed that draws on a distinction between noetic and experiential representations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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address some basic questions about figurative language in general, and about metaphor in particular / examine what it is that makes a string of words a metaphor, how metaphors are understood, and how and why metaphors are used in discourse instead of "words proper" / consider the relationship between metaphor on the one hand and polysemy [multiple meanings] and lexical innovations on the other, with the purpose of elucidating some of the processes underlying sense extensions and sense creation (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The literature on interference in the Stroop Color–Word Task, covering over 50 years and some 400 studies, is organized and reviewed. In so doing, a set of 18 reliable empirical findings is isolated that must be captured by any successful theory of the Stroop effect. Existing theoretical positions are summarized and evaluated in view of this critical evidence and the 2 major candidate theories—relative speed of processing and automaticity of reading—are found to be wanting. It is concluded that recent theories placing the explanatory weight on parallel processing of the irrelevant and the relevant dimensions are likely to be more successful than are earlier theories attempting to locate a single bottleneck in attention.
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Affect is a somewhat abstract concept that is frequently linked to physical metaphor. For example, good is often depicted as light (rather than dark), up (rather than down), and moving forward (rather than backward). The purpose of our studies was to examine whether the association between stimulus brightness and affect is optional or obligatory. In a series of three studies, participants categorized words as negative or positive. The valence of the words and the brightness of the letters were varied orthogonally. In Studies 1, 2, and 3, we found that categorization was inhibited when there was a mismatch between stimulus brightness (e.g., light) and word valence (e.g., negative). Studies 4 and 5 reveal boundary conditions for the effect. The studies suggest that, when making evaluations, people automatically assume that bright objects are good, whereas dark objects are bad.
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George Lakoff and Mark Johnson take on the daunting task of rebuilding Western philosophy in alignment with three fundamental lessons from cognitive science: The mind is inherently embodied, thought is mostly unconscious, and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Why so daunting? "Cognitive science--the empirical study of the mind--calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind," they write. "A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think." In other words, no Platonic forms, no Cartesian mind-body duality, no Kantian pure logic. Even Noam Chomsky's generative linguistics is revealed under scrutiny to have substantial problems. Parts of Philosophy in the Flesh retrace the ground covered in the authors' earlier Metaphors We Live By , which revealed how we deal with abstract concepts through metaphor. (The previous sentence, for example, relies on the metaphors "Knowledge is a place" and "Knowing is seeing" to make its point.) Here they reveal the metaphorical underpinnings of basic philosophical concepts like time, causality--even morality--demonstrating how these metaphors are rooted in our embodied experiences. They repropose philosophy as an attempt to perfect such conceptual metaphors so that we can understand how our thought processes shape our experience; they even make a tentative effort toward rescuing spirituality from the heavy blows dealt by the disproving of the disembodied mind or "soul" by reimagining "transcendence" as "imaginative empathetic projection." Their source list is helpfully arranged by subject matter, making it easier to follow up on their citations. If you enjoyed the mental workout from Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works , Lakoff and Johnson will, to pursue the "Learning is exercise" metaphor, take you to the next level of training. --Ron Hogan Two leading thinkers offer a blueprint for a new philosophy. "Their ambition is massive, their argument important.…The authors engage in a sort of metaphorical genome project, attempting to delineate the genetic code of human thought." -The New York Times Book Review "This book will be an instant academic best-seller." -Mark Turner, University of Maryland This is philosophy as it has never been seen before. Lakoff and Johnson show that a philosophy responsible to the science of the mind offers a radically new and detailed understandings of what a person is. After first describing the philosophical stance that must follow from taking cognitive science seriously, they re-examine the basic concepts of the mind, time, causation, morality, and the self; then they rethink a host of philosophical traditions, from the classical Greeks through Kantian morality through modern analytical philosophy.
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Abstract Affect is a somewhat abstract concept that is frequently linked to physical metaphor. For example, good is often depicted as light (rather than dark), up (rather than down), and moving forward (rather than backward). The purpose of our studies was to examine whether the association between stimulus brightness and affect is optional or obligatory. In a series of three studies, participants categorized words as negative or positive. The valence of the words and the brightness of the letters were varied orthogonally. In Studies 1, 2, and 3, we found that categorization was inhibited when there was a mismatch between stimulus brightness (e.g., light) and word valence (e.g., negative). Studies 4 and 5 reveal boundary conditions for the effect. The studies suggest that, when making evaluations, people automatically assume that bright objects are good, whereas dark objects are bad.
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The book presents a comprehensive account of how people understand metaphors and idioms in everyday discourse. Traditionally, figurative language has been considered to be derived from and more complex than literal language. The book presents an alternative view, arguing that figurative language makes use of the same kinds of linguistic and pragmatic operations that are used for literal language. A new theory of metaphor comprehension integrates linguistic, philosophical, and psychological perspectives to account for figurative language use. The theory's central tenet is that everyday conversational metaphors are used spontaneously to create new concepts and categories. Metaphor is special only in the sense that metaphorical categories are salient examples of the things that they represent. These categories get their names from the best examples of those categories. Thus, the literal "shark" can be a metaphor for any vicious and predatory creature. Because the same term, "shark", is used for both its literal referent and for the metaphorical category, as in "my lawyer is a shark", such terms have dual-reference. In this way, metaphors simultaneously refer to the abstract metaphorical category and to the most salient literal exemplar of that category, as in the expression "boys (literal) will be boys (metaphorical)". The book concludes with a comprehensive treatment of idiom use, and an analysis and critique (written by Matthew McGlone) of conceptual metaphor in the context of how people understand both conventional and novel figurative expressions.
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Tested a 2-stage model for a "semantic congruity effect" in comparative judgments in 2 experiments with 26 undergraduates as Ss. When Ss were asked to choose the higher or the lower of 2 balloons tethered at the ends of strings, they were faster at choosing the higher of the 2, but when asked to choose the higher or the lower of 2 yo-yos hanging at the ends of strings, they were faster at choosing the lower one. By hypothesis, this occurred because the balloons were coded at a 1st perceptual stage in term of highness and the yo-yos in terms of lowness; then, at the 2nd linguistic stage, the perceptual codes that matched the instructional codes ("choose the higher" or "the lower") resulted in the faster judgments. Results demonstrate that (a) the 2 stages are sequential, since changes in pairwise stimulus discriminability and in instructions had additive effects on the total reaction time and (b) the presence of the semantic congruity effect depended on the actual perceptual codes applied to the stimuli.
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In Experiment I subjects were asked to judge whether an arrow was pointing up or pointing down at various heights inside a surrounding rectangle. They were faster on an arrow pointing up the higher it was in the rectangle, and they were faster on an arrow pointing down the lower it was in the rectangle. Experiments 2, 3, and 4 were designed to test sources for this"congruity effect." The intrusive height information for each arrow was assumed to facilitate or interfere with (a) the activation of the correct motor response; (b) the maintenance of the implicit instruction "Is it pointing up, or is it pointing down?"; or (c) the selection of the criterial perceptual information as a basis for the response. All three experiments were consistent with c, but not with a or b. Indeed, the results contrasted with previous demonstrations of the Stroop effect in certain critical features.
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Glucksberg and Keysar (1990) have proposed a class-inclusion model of metaphor comprehension. This theory suggests that metaphors are not understood as implicit similes but are seen as class-inclusion statements in which the topic of a metaphor is assigned to a diagnostic, ad hoc category, whereas the metaphor's vehicle is a prototypical member of that category. The author claims that verbal metaphors are not simply instantiations of temporary, ad hoc categories but reflect preexisting conceptual mappings in long-term memory that are metaphorically structured. Various evidence from cognitive linguistics, philosophy, and psychology are described in support of this claim. Evidence is also presented that supports, contrary to Glucksberg and Keysar's position, the role of tacit conceptual metaphors in the comprehension of verbal metaphors in discourse.
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The effect of outliers on reaction time analyses is evaluated. The first section assesses the power of different methods of minimizing the effect of outliers on analysis of variance (ANOVA) and makes recommendations about the use of transformations and cutoffs. The second section examines the effect of outliers and cutoffs on different measures of location, spread, and shape and concludes using quantitative examples that robust measures are much less affected by outliers and cutoffs than measures based on moments. The third section examines fitting explicit distribution functions as a way of recovering means and standard deviations and concludes that unless fitting the distribution function is used as a model of distribution shape, the method is probably not worth routine use.
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The clinical cognitive approach assumes that emotional reactions are mediated through the meanings given to events. Cognitive therapy aims to change emotion by changing meanings. It focuses on specific level meanings, evaluating the truth value of particular beliefs. Bower's science-driven associative network theory of cognition and emotion is also primarily concerned with specific meanings. This focus on meaning at a specific level causes problems, e.g. the contrasts between 'intellectual' and 'emotional' belief, between 'cold' and 'hot' cognition, and between explicit and intuitive knowledge. These problems are resolved in the Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS) approach. ICS distinguishes between a specific and a more holistic, intuitive, level of meaning. In contrast to alternative approaches, ICS suggest that holistic level meanings are of primary importance in emotion production. Representations at this level consist of schematic mental models, encoding high-order inter-relationships and prototypical patterns extracted from life experience. The ICS approach to meaning is described and its implications for understanding and treating emotional disorders discussed, together with relevant empirical findings. ICS suggests a therapeutic focus on holistic rather than specific meanings, a role for 'non-evidential' interventions, such as guided imagery, and a rational basis for certain experiential therapies.