Publication details [#12874]

Kravanja, Peter and Maarten Coëgnarts. 2016. Perceiving Causality in Character Perception: A Metaphorical Study of Causation in Film. Metaphor and Symbol 31 (2) : 91–107. 17 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


This paper combines insights from both cognitive linguistics and experimental psychology in order to detect how the abstract concepts of perception and causation are conceptualized metaphorically and/or metonymically and which conditions have to be fulfilled in order to perceive causality in relation to perception. The authors suggest that mental states of fictional characters are perceptually accessible to us only when they are bodily motivated, for example through conceptual metonymic and metaphoric mappings. Therefore, the aim of the paper is to investigate the metonymic, metaphoric and also causal underpinnings of external signs that enable film viewers to infer the character’s mental states. More specifically, it is shown how the function of seeing is metaphorically and metonymically embodied in films and how this embodiment can give rise to two distinct but interrelated perceptions of causality from the part of the viewer.