Manipulated By Metaphors

The Dish

by Dish Staff

Figurative language may warp your perception of reality. Britt Peterson explains:

Lera Boroditsky, an associate professor of cognitive science at the University of California at San Diego, has written a series of papers on the effect of figurative language, particularly metaphors of space and time, on reasoning. One paper, written with Paul Thibodeau, an assistant professor of psychology at Oberlin College, showed that substituting just one word in a text about a crime wave ravaging an imaginary town – comparing crime to a “beast” instead of a “virus” – completely changed how readers responded to the problem. People who read that crime was a beast were far more likely to advocate putting more police on the streets or locking up criminals; people who read “virus” were far more likely to push for education and social reforms. And yet, when people cited the factors behind their decisions, no one mentioned…

View original post 338 more words

Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist

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