ERIC Number: ED215318
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Metaphor Comprehension and Cognitive Effort.
Petrun, Craig J.; Belmore, Susan M.
A study investigated processing differences between metaphorical and literal versions of the same sentences. The purposes of the study were (1) to directly compare the on-line processing demands of metaphoric and nonmetaphoric sentences, and (2) to examine the consequences of such sentences for memory performance. The subjects were 39 college students who were shown 48 pairs of sentences, one a stimulus sentence and one a correct or incorrect paraphrase used as a verification task. A secondary task was used to measure the amount of cognitive capacity expended during sentence comprehension; on half of a subject's trials a brief click was presented through headphones while the subject was processing the verification-task sentence. The results showed that more cognitive effort was required for analyzing the meaning of a metaphor than for a literal sentence. The recognition data also showed that a sentence was remembered better when the meaning was conveyed metaphorically. Overall, the results suggested that different types of processing are involved in understanding literal and figurative language, supporting the idea that the amount of cognitive effort expended during comprehension is significantly related to memory performance. (RL)
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).