ERIC Number: ED221851
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The On-Line Processing of Figurative and Literal Language.
Petrun, Craig J.; Belmore, Susan M.
A study examined cognitive processing differences between metaphoric and literal sentences. Thirty-three undergraduate students listened to 96 test sentences (including 48 fillers) that expressed 1 meaning in either a novel or frozen metaphorical or literal form: "The old couch was in love with its new slipcover" (novel), "The old couch was at home in its new slipcover" (frozen), "The old couch looked good in its new slipcover" (literal). The subjects were instructed that their primary task was to comprehend the meaning of each sentence, and they were told that they would have to make a yes/no "meaningfulness" judgment for each sentence. As a secondary task, subjects were asked to press a key in response to a light presented 250 msec after the last word in each sentence, with the response times recorded. Following presentation of the sentences, the subjects were given a forced-choice recognition test in which they were to determine which of two metaphorical and literal versions of a sentence had been presented in the trials. Performance on the secondary procedure indicated that metaphors required greater attention for comprehension. Performance on the "meaningfulness" judgment task showed that the subjects comprehended the meaning of the four sentence types equally well. Finally, in a result possibly related to the increased attention required to comprehend figurative language, both novel and frozen metaphors were remembered significantly better than literal sentences. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (52nd, New York, NY, April 22-25, 1981).