Current reseach

International advisory board members tell about their research in a short text:

Cihua Xu – The use of metaphor in argumentation

Metaphor is often used in daily communication. A number of studies focus on how metaphor may enhance the persuasive power of discourse (e.g. Cameron & Deignan, 2006; Charteris-Black, 2011; Hauser & Schwarz, 2014). But since these studies approach to metaphor from a purely rhetorical perspective, the question as to how metaphor is used in argumentation remains unanswered. In our research, we study metaphor from the perspective of a rational discussion, focusing on questions such as: What representations do metaphors have in argumentation? How do metaphorical expressions function in different types of arguments? Below, I discuss three projects that focus on these issues.

Anjan Chatterjee & Eileen Cardillo – Why the right hemisphere’s role in metaphor processing might not be right 

Since Broca, Wernicke, and Lichtheim (Roth, 2014), the idea that the left hemisphere specializes in processing language is well accepted. However, in the late 1970s and 80s the right hemisphere began to be viewed as playing a unique role in language processing, specifically for figurative language. Are metaphors processed in the left or right hemisphere of the brain? Cardillo, Chatterjee and their colleagues have investigated the neural underpinnings of metaphors in order to find out.

Alice Deignan – Metaphors and ‘translations’ of science for school students


This post is about a recently finished research project on climate change and education that applies metaphor analysis in order to gain more insight about the ways in which school students in England understand climate change. It focuses on the greenhouse metaphor.

Albert Katz – A Potpourri of Recent Research from the Laboratory

laboratory2For over 35 years, I have been engaged in understanding how one translates the surface appearances of objects and events into deeper psychological understanding. Trained as a cognitive psychologist, this interest has led me to study autobiographical memory and the processing of language when one says something that, on the surface, differs from what one is attempting to convey, such as when one uses metaphor, sarcasm, proverbs or puns.

Elisabetta Gola – Metaphors for reasoning

John+Wells+Honored+Hollywood+Walk+Fame+aM3eBuYaNQ6lWhen is a metaphor also a good argumentation? Are we always able to distinguish the truth in literal and metaphorical sentences? Such questions address the relation between metaphor and argumentation, a topic about which little is known. The ways in which specific aspects of metaphors influence the quality of argumentation still needs to be clarified (Gola 2014; Ervas & Sangoi 2014).

Jeannette Littlemore and Paula Perez-Sobrino – EMMA

emma-header1In a globalized market place there is an increasing need for European companies and non-government organisations to develop sophisticated advertising strategies in order to increase their market share and compete successfully. One of these strategies is the use of metaphor, metonymy, and combinations thereof. The EMMA Project explores the effects of such figurative language on the interpretation of advertisements in both sectors.

Tony Veale – Ways of Seeing and Not Seeing with Metaphor

Jaws_Brody_Dolly_Zoom.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeThe “dolly zoom” is one of the most dramatic camera moves in the filmmaker’s repertoire. It comprises two camera actions that are executed simultaneously: a “dolly shot”, in which the camera is quickly pulled away from its target on a trolley or a track; and a “zoom shot”, in which the camera lens extends for a simultaneous close-up of the target. These two actions almost cancel each other out, but not quite: while the target remains resolutely in focus, and appears just as prominent on the screen, the background behind the target dramatically falls away.

Rachel Giora – The Defaultness Hypothesis

convaircarYou are not a pilot! When this is uttered by someone who is sitting in the back of the car, the driver may interpret the utterance as Stop driving so fast! But how do we know that this is the case, or under which circumstances such an interpretation prevails over other interpretations of the same utterance? My current research addresses these issues by focusing on a recent theory of defaultness, termed the Defaultness Hypothesis (Giora, Givoni, & Fein, 2015a).