Publication details [#2633]

Blasko, Dawn G. and Cynthia M. Connine. 1993. Effects of familiarity and aptness on metaphor processing. Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies 19 (2) : 295–308. 14 pp.


The processing of metaphors is investigated for high and low familiarity, lexical activation, and figurative meaning across five experiments (total N = 293) designed for various patterned exposures and measurement of targets of (1) metaphor (MT), (2) literal word (LWT), and (3) control words unrelated to (1) or (2). Auditory primes and visual targets related to non-literary metaphors were presented to the Ss at 250-750 milliseconds (ms) and were rated for familiarity and degree of aptness (i.e., how well the metaphor expressed its meaning). For the low-familiar metaphors in experiments 1 and 2 given at 0 ms and 300 ms delay, it was found that figurative interpretation availability was low in correspondence with the metaphors' aptness. In experiments 3 and 4 it was found that low-familiar/ moderate-apt metaphors were interpretable after a 750 ms delay. In experiment 5, a juxtaposition of the topic and vehicle was found to facilitate the MTs, not lexical activation of the MT's individual words, supporting the notion that salient characteristics unrelated to the MT terms assist in accessing the meaning of the MT. (Copyright 1994, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.) (L. Borgen in LLBA 1994, vol. 28, n. 4)