Emotional Implications of Metaphor:Consequences of Metaphor Framing for Mindset about Cancer

Hendricks, Rose K. and Demjén, Zsófia and Semino, Elena and Boroditsky, Lera (2019) Emotional Implications of Metaphor:Consequences of Metaphor Framing for Mindset about Cancer. Metaphor and Symbol, 33 (4). pp. 267-279. ISSN 1092-6488

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When faced with hardship, how do we emotionally appraise the situation? Although many factors contribute to our reasoning about hardships, in this article we focus on the role of linguistic metaphor in shaping how we cope. In five experiments, we find that framing a person’s cancer situation as a “battle” encourages people to believe that that person is more likely to feel guilty if they do not recover than framing the same situation as a “journey” does. Conversely, the “journey” frame is more likely to encourage the inference that the person can make peace with their situation than the “battle” frame. We rule out lexical priming as an explanation for this effect and examine the generalizability of these findings to individual differences across participants and to a different type of hardship—namely, an experience with depression. Finally, we examine the language participants produced after encountering one of these metaphors, and we find tendencies to repeat and extend the metaphors encountered. Together, these experiments shed light on the influential role of linguistic metaphor in the way we emotionally appraise hardship situations.

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Journal Article
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Metaphor and Symbol
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Deposited On:
15 Feb 2019 11:30
Last Modified:
30 Dec 2022 01:56