Publication details [#5163]

Glucksberg, Sam, Mary Brown and Matthew S. McGlone. 1993. Conceptual metaphors are not automatically accessed during idiom comprehension. Memory & Cognition 21 (5) : 711–719. 9 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Springer US


An examination of whether conceptual metaphors motivate idiom use and comprehension in discourse, eg, description of a person 'fuming' would be analogically consistent with an idiom such as 'blew her top' but not with an idiom such as 'bite his head off'. Findings of an earlier study by N. P. Nayak and R. W. Gibbs ("Conceptual knowledge in the interpretation of idioms," 'Journal of Experimental Psychology: General', 1990, 119, 315-330) suggesting that such analogical information is used during metaphor comprehension were replicated in a three-experiment series (N = 24, 32, and 33 undergraduates, respectively). When reading times were used to assess idiom comprehensibility, no effects of analogical consistency were found. It is concluded that conceptual analogies play little, if any, role in idiom comprehension unless people have time to make considered judgments. The role is not an automatic one. (Copyright 1993, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.) (LLBA 1993, vol. 27, n. 4)