Comprehending anaphoric metaphors

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

In this study we investigate the comprehension of various kinds of anaphoric metaphors in context. We describe an experiment that manipulated the metaphoricity of simple noun + verb + ending sentences by using either a metaphoric noun or a metaphoric verb or both. Our results show that metaphoric nouns affect sentence comprehension to a greater extent than do metaphoric verbs. Thus, even though there were no sentence-reading time differences between metaphoric and literal targets, metaphoric nouns were read more slowly than were literal nouns, and they also affected the reading time of the following verb. Moreover, in trials involving metaphoric-noun targets, participants read the endings of the targets faster and made more mistakes in answering posttrial questions than they did in literal-noun trials. We argue that these results suggest a comprehension deficit for anaphoric noun metaphors even when they are preceded by a context.




Published In

Memory & Cognition, 30, 1, 158-165.