Publication details [#1200]

Gibbs, Raymond W., Jr. 2013. Walking the Walk While Thinking About the Talk: Embodied Interpretation of Metaphorical Narratives. Journal of psycholinguistic research 42 (4) : 363–378. 16 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Cham: Springer


Two sets of experiments examined people’s embodied understanding of metaphorical narratives. Participants heard one of two stories about a romantic relationship; either one that was successful or one that was not, that initially described it in metaphorical terms as “Your relationship was moving along in a good direction” or nonmetaphorical terms as “Your relationship was very important to you.” Participants were then blindfolded and attempted to accurately walk, or imagine walking, to a marker 40 feet away while they thought about the story they just heard. People who heard about the successful metaphorical story walked longer and further than those presented with the unsuccessful relationship story. But these walking and imagining differences disappeared when the critical metaphorical statement “moving along in a good direction” was replaced by a nonmetaphorical expression. These findings, and those from another set of experiments, suggest that people’s understanding of metaphorical narratives is partly based on their embodied simulations of the metaphorical actions referred to in these stories.