17 May – Mikael Skagenholt

Semantic priming in deliberate metaphor comprehension

Mikael Skagenholt is a first-year research master’s student of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, working on his first research project since starting his studies in September 2015.
My work at the Metaphor Lab aims to provide experimental data in support of Deliberate Metaphor Theory, using a common psycholinguistic stimulus-probe design where metaphor-based (and literal control) sentences are used as primes, and metaphor-relevant or metaphor-irrelevant words are used as probes (see e.g. Glucksberg, Newsome, and Goldvarg, 2001; Stringaris et al., 2006). The novelty of this approach is found in the distinction between conventional and novel metaphorical primes, the latter of which often exhibit characteristics of deliberateness to the reader (e.g. Steen, 2008), and provide the experience of a metaphor used as a metaphor.
The conventional metaphorical, novel metaphorical, and literal control sentences used in this study have been obtained through personal communication with Dr. Vicky Lai, who has previously carried out studies on ERP components in metaphor comprehension (e.g. Lai, Curran, and Menn, 2009). For the purposes of my study, I have created a total of 288 probe words, half of which are relevant to a literal interpretation of the target domain and half of which are relevant to a metaphorical interpretation of the source domain, in order to investigate whether novel (deliberate) metaphors afford semantic priming effects that guide readers towards figurative interpretation. This study will measure how response accuracy and reaction time differs when presenting these three distinct prime types with metaphorically relevant or irrelevant probes, measuring whether the primes differently affect metaphor comprehension.
In this meeting, I will provide a brief overview of my previous experience with conceptual metaphor theory, present the theoretical background and methods used in my study, and discuss the process of developing appropriate stimulus materials. I would greatly appreciate any comments or questions on methodological issues or the stimulus materials themselves.

Potgieterszaal, University Library
Singel 421-427
1012 WP Amsterdam