ERIC Number: ED246698
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
The Development of Metaphor Comprehension.
Broderick, Victor K.
A study to investigate the development of children's ability to relate concepts and thus understand metaphors by examining their performance on three concept-relating tasks is reported. Abstract-metaphoric, concrete-metaphoric, and literal taxonomic relationships were embedded in an analogy-like binary choice task. In this type of task, the children were presented all four terms of a proportion but only partial information about where each term fit into the proportion. As anticipated, the children's performance reflected a general developmental trend, improving with age. Performance was significantly above chance for all tasks at all grade levels, with the exception of the literal taxonomic task for preschoolers. Performance on the literal task was significantly poorer than on either of the metaphoric tasks, while performance on the abstract and concrete metaphoric tasks was quite comparable. The data do not support the hypothesis that children's literal language should surpass their metaphoric language or that their ability to relate concepts begins at a primitive, concrete level and gradually develops to comprehension of abstract metaphors. The ability to relate disparate concepts does not appear to be a metaphor-specific ability that could account for children's development of metaphor comprehension. (MSE)
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 (55th, Baltimore, MD, April 12-15, 1984).