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Title:The magical realism of metaphor: cross-cultural comparisons in use of metaphor in cognition
Author(s):Wallheimer, Kay L.
Advisor(s):Cohen, Dov
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Three experiments explore the hypothesis that due to linguistic and cultural factors, metaphor usage – or thinking in terms of what something is like – differs across cultures. In Experiment 1, a lexical decision task supported the hypothesis that perception of what something is like tends to be faster and more automatic in Latino participants than in Anglo participants. In Experiment 2, Anglo participants were less able to solve a problem framed metaphorically than Latino participants were. To ensure that a preference for metaphor is not applicable to all bilingual populations, we included bilingual Asian participants in Experiment 3. In this study, Latino participants rated arguments presented with metaphors as more persuasive than arguments that did not have metaphors, while the opposite pattern was found in Anglo and Asian participants. The findings from these three studies provide support for the hypothesis that the Latino preference for metaphor is real and pervasive. Implications in the domains of education and public health interventions are briefly noted.
Issue Date:2010-06-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Kay L. Wallheimer
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-06-22
Date Deposited:May 2010

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