Christian Burgers on BNR Radio

Thursday 18 december 2014 Christian Burgers gave a talk on BNR Radio. Metaphors are frequently being used by text writers and spin doctors to frame their message. They however do not seem to have any effect.

You can find the radio fragment here.

When Do Natural Language Metaphors Influence Reasoning?

Steen, Reijnierse and Burgers offer a critical view of an earlier study of Thibodeau and Boroditsky (2013) on how metaphorical framing influences reasoning.

In this paper, Steen, Reijnierse and Burgers have reported four studies that comprise a follow-up study to Thibodeau and Boroditsky who report an effect of metaphorical framing on readers’ preference for political measures after exposure to a short text on the increase of crime in a fictitious town: when crime was metaphorically presented as a beast, readers became more enforcement-oriented than when crime was metaphorically framed as a virus. In contrast to the original studies, Steen, Reijnierse and Burgers consistently found no effects of metaphorical frames on policy preference. Therefore, the experiments provide converging evidence raising questions about when metaphors do and do not influence reasoning.

Metaphor studies in retrospect and prospect

Joanna Gavins (University of Sheffield, UK) has interviewed Gerard Steen about Metaphor studies.
You can read the article ‘Metaphor studies in retrospect and prospect: An interview with Gerard Steen’ here.

15 questions for Gerard Steen

In the interview on ’15 questions about metaphor research for Gerard Steen’ Gerard Steen explains what his favorite metaphors are, why he is into metaphor research, he talks about current metaphor research and his views on the future.

Gerard Steen on Dutch Radio 1

20 December 2014, Gerard Steen was interviewed on Dutch Radio 1 about the article he published together with Gudrun Reijnierse and Christian Burgers in PLoS ONE: ‘When Do Natural Language Metaphors Influence Reasoning? A Follow-Up Study to Thibodeau and Boroditsky (2013). Listen to the interview online and hear about the effects of metaphor.

VisMet Corpus

On the VisMet website scholars and laymen interested in pictorial metaphors will find a corpus of 343 ads, cartoons and illustrations containing metaphorical messages.

The VisMet team consists of Scientist in charge Professor Gerard Steen (director VU Metaphor Lab), Project Director Marianna Bolognesi, VisMet assistant Romy van den Heerik and Metaphor Lab assistant Esther van den Berg.

The VisMet corpus can be found on

Contributions to the corpus are welcome, as are any practical or academic questions and comments concerning the content of the corpus (e-mail to, terms for submission can be found here).

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