How embodied is metaphor processing?
What cognitive mechanisms do we engage in comprehending metaphorical language? One leading hypothesis (Narayanan, 1997; Gibbs, 2006) argues that we activate perceptual, motor, and affective systems to simulate figurative details. For instance, when we read 'Senator Jones is a dirty liar,' we might experience dirtiness visually (what someone looks like when dirty), haptically (what it feels like to be dirty), or using other perceptual, motor, or affective systems. Over the past decade, there has been a growing body of evidence testing this Embodied Metaphor Processing hypothesis. This seminar is a critical and up-to-date assessment of both this hypothesis and the current evidence for and against it, including behavioral experiments, computational models, and brain imaging.
This course is appropriate for graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have a background in experimental research on language. Course meetings will be structured around discussions of readings, and each student will conceive, design, implement, and collect pilot data from a research project pertaining to the course topic.