Mixing Metaphors In The Cerebral Hemispheres: What Happens When Careers Collide?

S. Chettih
Frank H. Durgin, Swarthmore College
Daniel J. Grodner, Swarthmore College

Abstract

Are processes of figurative comparison and figurative categorization different? An experiment combining alternative-sense and matched-sense metaphor priming with a divided visual field assessment technique sought to isolate processes of comparison and categorization in the 2 cerebral hemispheres. For target metaphors presented in the right visual field/left cerebral hemisphere (RVF/LH), only matched-sense primes were facilitative. Literal primes and alternative-sense primes had no effect on comprehension time compared to the unprimed baseline. The effects of matched-sense primes were additive with the rated conventionality of the targets. For target metaphors presented to the left visual field/right cerebral hemisphere (LVF/RH), matched-sense primes were again additively facilitative. However, alternative-sense primes, though facilitative overall, seemed to eliminate the preexisting advantages of conventional target metaphor senses in the LVF/RH in favor of metaphoric senses similar to those of the primes. These findings are consistent with tightly controlled categorical coding in the LH and coarse, flexible, context-dependent coding in the RH. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)