ERIC Number: EJ757291
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Electrophysiological and Behavioral Measures of the Influence of Literal and Figurative Contextual Constraints on Proverb Comprehension
Ferretti, Todd R.; Schwint, Christopher A.; Katz, Albert N.
Brain and Language, v101 n1 p38-49 Apr 2007
Proverbs tend to have meanings that are true both literally and figuratively (i.e., Lightning really doesn't strike the same place twice). Consequently, discourse contexts that invite a literal reading of a proverb should provide more conceptual overlap with the proverb, resulting in more rapid processing, than will contexts biased towards a non-literal reading. Despite this, previous research has failed to find the predicted processing advantage in reading times for familiar proverbs when presented in a literally biasing context. We investigate this issue further by employing both ERP methodology and a self-paced reading task and, second, by creating an item set that controls for problems with items employed in earlier studies. Our results indicate that although people do not take longer to read proverbs in the literally and proverbially biasing contexts, people have less difficulty integrating the statements in literal than figurative contexts, as shown by the ERP data. These differences emerge at the third word of the proverbs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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