Metaphorical sentences are more emotionally engaging than their literal counterparts

Citron, Francesca M. M. and Goldberg, Adele E. (2014) Metaphorical sentences are more emotionally engaging than their literal counterparts. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26 (11). pp. 2585-2595. ISSN 0898-929X

PDF (CiGüMiGo2016_NeuroImage)
CiGu_MiGo2016_NeuroImage.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (4MB)


Why do people so often use metaphorical expressions when literal paraphrases are readily available? This study focuses on a comparison of metaphorical statements involving the source domain of taste (e.g., She looked at him sweetly) and their literal paraphrases (e.g., She looked at him kindly). Metaphorical and literal sentences differed only in one word and were normed for length, familiarity, imageability, emotional valence, and arousal. Our findings indicate that conventional metaphorical expressions are more emotionally evocative than literal expressions, as the amygdala and the anterior portion of the hippocampus were more active in the metaphorical sentences. They also support the idea that even conventional metaphors can be grounded in sensorimotor and perceptual representations in that primary and secondary gustatory areas (lateral OFC, frontal operculum, anterior insula) were more active as well. A comparison of the individual words that distinguished the metaphorical and literal sentences revealed greater activation in the lateral OFC and the frontal operculum for the taste-related words, supporting the claim that these areas are relevant to taste.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Additional Information:
This is a preprint, or manuscript version and that the article has been accepted for publication in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
27 Feb 2015 13:48
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 01:36