Metaphorical sentence processing and topic abstractness

Xu Xu, Lisa Paulson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The topic terms of metaphorical sentences are often abstract concepts. Two studies examined the effect of topic abstractness on the interpretive process of metaphorical sentences. With a self-report measurement approach, Study 1 found that participants assessed more comprehension time for metaphorical sentences with abstract topics than those with concrete topics. With an online measurement approach, Study 2 showed that it took more time to activate the metaphorical meaning of sentences with abstract topics than those with concrete topics. The studies also took into consideration such factors as aptness, familiarity, vehicle conventionality and syntactic form (metaphor vs. simile), which have been shown relevant to the comprehension process of metaphorical sentences. An effect of syntactic form on comprehension time was found with the selfreport measure, but not with the online measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Psychology Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781536117660
ISBN (Print)9781613243176
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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