Conventional metaphors in longer passages evoke affective brain response

Citron, Francesca Maria Marina and Güsten, Jeremie and Michaelis, Nora and Goldberg, Adele E. (2016) Conventional metaphors in longer passages evoke affective brain response. NeuroImage, 139. pp. 218-230. ISSN 1053-8119

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Conventional metaphorical sentences such as She’s a sweet child have been found to elicit greater amygdala activation than matched literal sentences (e.g., She’s a kind child). In the present fMRI study, this finding is strengthened and extended with naturalistic stimuli involving longer passages and a range of conventional metaphors. In particular, a greater number of activation peaks (four) were found in the bilateral amygdala when passages containing conventional metaphors were read than when their matched literal versions were read (a single peak); while the direct contrast between metaphorical and literal passages did not show significant amygdala activation, parametric analysis revealed that BOLD signal changes in the left amygdala correlated with an increase in metaphoricity ratings across all stories. Moreover, while a measure of complexity was positively correlated with an increase in activation of a broad bilateral network mainly involving the temporal lobes, complexity was not predictive of amygdala activity. Thus, the results suggest that amygdala activation is not simply a result of stronger overall activity related to language comprehension, but is more specific to the processing of metaphorical language.

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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in NeuroImage. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in NeuroImage, 139, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.06.020
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? conventional metaphorstextdiscourseamygdalafmriemotioncognitive neuroscienceneurology ??
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17 Jun 2016 14:56
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:42