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Words and Concepts

Topic and scope The aim of this study is to predict (and model) metaphor interpretation performed by humans. Metaphors can be defined as mapping across two conceptual domains, which in their simplest form may be expressed as A is B. Metaphorical expressions vary along a number of parameters, among which, most importantly, the novelty/conventionality of the mapping between the two concepts, the abstractness/concreteness of each of the two concepts, and the degree of sense that the metaphors have as intelligible utterances.
Duration May 2015 – May 2016
Research question Is it possible to predict the content of the interpretations of metaphors that have been produced by randomly pairing two concepts from two distinct domains in an A is B construction by two different methods while taking into account the role of conventionality, abstractness, and intelligibility?
Method Our approach was to examine the interpretations people give of 40 A is B metaphors that were randomly generated from a pool of 80 sets of concepts. The concepts were divided between concrete and abstract.
Researchers Marianna Bolognesi, Lotte Hogeweg, Gerard Steen.