Publication details [#14152]

Thibodeau, Paul H. and Lera Boroditsky. 2015. Measuring Effects of Metaphor in a Dynamic Opinion Landscape. PLOS ONE 10 (7).
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


The present paper reports on the results of three norming tasks and two experiments that reveal a shift in the overall landscape of opinion on the topic of crime. The extremely thorough and accurate methodology and analyses suggest that different metaphors (CRIME IS A BEAST vs CRIME IS A VIRUS) influence people’s reasoning about crime. Overall, the two experiments consistently find that people were more likely to pursue enforcement-oriented policy interventions when exposed to the beast metaphor than to the virus metaphor. The three norming tasks highlight critical factors to keep in mind when conducting framing studies in real world contexts. The paper successfully confirms with extremely detailed quantitative information that metaphors affect the way we reason about complex problems. It also highlights the importance of publicly shared data and of replication.