Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8bljj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T01:17:58.828Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Aptness and beauty in metaphor

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2016

MARGUERITE MCQUIRE*
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
LAUREN MCCOLLUM
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
ANJAN CHATTERJEE
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
*
Address for correspondence: Marguerite McQuire, Department of Neurology, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, 3720 Walnut Street B-51, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6241; tel: (857) 928-3234; e-mail: mcquire@mail.med.upenn.edu

Abstract

Metaphors are comparisons that link dissimilar conceptual domains. We hypothesized that the aptness of a metaphor is linked to the reader’s experience of beauty, and that age and expertise influence these aesthetic judgments. We had young adults, literary experts, and elderly adults rate metaphors for beauty or aptness. Experimental materials consisted of single-sentence novel metaphors whose familiarity, figurativeness, imageability, interpretability, and overall valence ratings were known. Results suggest that beauty and aptness of metaphors are linked for elderly adults but are orthogonal for young adults and literary experts. Elderly participants seem to conflate emotional content with aptness. Young adults are most swayed by a perceived feeling of familiarity when rating for aptness, but not for beauty. Literary experts are relatively unaffected by the psycholinguistic variables, suggesting an emotionally distanced approach to these sentences. Individual differences in literary training and life experience have varying effects on the aesthetic experience of metaphor in regard to beauty and aptness.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © UK Cognitive Linguistics Association 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

This research was supported by a National Institute of Health grant (R01-DC012511) awarded to Anjan Chatterjee, a National Institute of Health training grant (T32AG000255-16). The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

References

references

Baayen, R. H., Davidson, D. J., & Bates, D. M. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59(4), 390412.Google Scholar
Bates, D., Maechler, M., & Bolker, B. (2013). lme4: linear mixed-effects modeling using S4 classes R package [Computer Software] . Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing; online: <http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4> (R package version 0.999999–2).Google Scholar
Bergen, B., Lindsay, S., Matlock, T., & Narayan, S. (2007). Spatial and linguistic aspects of visual imagery in sentence comprehension. Cognitive Science, 31, 733764.Google Scholar
Bohrn, I. C., Altmann, U., Lubrich, O., Menninghaus, W., & Jacobs, A. M. (2012). Old proverbs in new skins–an fMRI study on defamiliarization. Frontiers in Psychology, 3.Google Scholar
Bohrn, I. C., Altmann, U., Lubrich, O., Menninghaus, W., & Jacobs, A. M. (2013). When we like what we know–a parametric fMRI analysis of beauty and familiarity. Brain and Language, 124(1), 18.Google Scholar
Bourdieu, P. (1987). The historical genesis of a pure aesthetic. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 46, 201210.Google Scholar
Cardillo, E. R., Schmidt, G. L., Kranjec, A., & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Stimulus design is an obstacle course: 560 matched literal and metaphorical sentences for testing neural hypotheses about metaphor. Behavior Research Methods, 42(3), 651664.Google Scholar
Cardillo, E. R., Watson, C., & Chatterjee, A. (2016). Stimulus needs are a moving target: 240 additional matched literal and metaphorical sentences for testing neural hypotheses about metaphor. Behavior Research Methods, 113.Google Scholar
Chatterjee, A. (2014). Scientific aesthetics: three steps forward. British Journal of Psychology, 105(4), 465467.Google Scholar
Chatterjee, A., & Vartanian, O. (2014). Neuroaesthetics. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18, 370375.Google Scholar
Chiappe, D. L., & Kennedy, J. M. (1999). Aptness predicts preference for metaphors or similes, as well as recall bias. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 6(4), 668676.Google Scholar
Coates, D. (2002). Watches tell more than time. Princeton Junction, NJ: McGraw-Hill Companies.Google Scholar
Coulson, S. (2001). Semantic leaps: frame-shifting and conceptual blending in meaning construction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crilly, N., Moultrie, J., & Clarkson, P. J. (2004). Seeing things: consumer response to the visual domain in product design. Design Studies, 25(6), 547577.Google Scholar
Fauconnier, G. (1994). Mental spaces: aspects of meaning construction in natural language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gentner, D., & Wolff, P. (1997). Alignment in the processing of metaphor. Journal of Memory and Language, 37(3), 331355.Google Scholar
Gerger, G. N. (2010). Affective and cognitive aspects of aesthetic evaluations in design, art, faces and abstract patterns. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Uni Wien.Google Scholar
Giora, R. (2014). Literal versus nonliteral language: novelty matters. In Holtgraves, T. M. (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of language and social psychology (pp. 330347). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Giora, R., Fein, O., Kronrod, A., Elnatan, I., Shuval, N., & Zur, A. (2004). Weapons of mass distraction: optimal innovation and pleasure ratings. Metaphor and Symbol, 19(2), 115141.Google Scholar
Ianni, G. R., Cardillo, E. R., McQuire, M., & Chatterjee, A. (2014). Flying under the radar: figurative language impairments in focal lesion patients. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 871.Google Scholar
Jacobs, A. M. (2015). Neurocognitive poetics: methods and models for investigating the neuronal and cognitive-affective bases of literature reception. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 186.Google Scholar
Jones, L. L., & Estes, Z. (2005). Metaphor comprehension as attributive categorization. Journal of Memory and Language, 53(1), 110124.Google Scholar
Jones, L. L., & Estes, Z. (2006). Roosters, robins, and alarm clocks: aptness and conventionality in metaphor comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 55(1), 1832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katz, A. (1989). On choosing the vehicles of metaphors: referential concreteness, semantic distances, and individual differences. Journal of Memory & Language, 28(4), 486499.Google Scholar
Katz, A., Paivio, A., Marschark, M., & Clark, J. M. (1988). Norms for 204 literary and 260 nonliterary metaphors on 10 psychological dimensions. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 3(4), 191214.Google Scholar
Leder, H., Belke, B., Oeberst, A., & Augustin, D. (2004). A model of aesthetic appreciation and aesthetic judgments. British Journal of Psychology, 95(4), 489508.Google Scholar
Leder, H., Gerger, G., Brieber, D., & Schwarz, N. (2014). What makes an art expert? Emotion and evaluation in art appreciation. Cognition and Emotion, 28(6), 11371147.Google Scholar
Mares, M. L., Oliver, M. B., & Cantor, J. (2008). Age differences in adults’ emotional motivations for exposure to films. Media Psychology, 11(4), 488511.Google Scholar
R Development Core Team. (2013). RA Lang Environ Stat Comput, 55, 275286. Chicago.Google Scholar
Reber, R., Winkielman, P., & Schwarz, N. (1998). Effects of perceptual fluency on affective judgments. Psychological Science, 9(1), 4548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reinsch, N. L. Jr. (1971). An investigation of the effects of the metaphor and simile in persuasive discourse. Speech Monographs, 38(2), 142145.Google Scholar
Schmidt, G. L., Kranjec, A., Cardillo, E. R., & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Beyond laterality: a critical assessment of research on the neural basis of metaphor. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16(1), 15.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sopory, P., & Dillard, J. P. (2002). The persuasive effects of metaphor: a meta-analysis. Human Communication Research, 28(3), 382419.Google Scholar
Troyer, M., Curley, L. B., Miller, L. E., Saygin, A. P., & Bergen, B. K. (2014). Action verbs are processed differently in metaphorical and literal sentences depending on the semantic match of visual primes. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 892.Google Scholar
Yonelinas, A. P., Aly, M., Wang, W. C., & Koen, J. D. (2010). Recollection and familiarity: examining controversial assumptions and new directions. Hippocampus, 20(11), 11781194.Google Scholar