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A common way of referring to people is with figurative language. People can be referred to metaphorically, as in calling a terrible boxer "a creampuff," or metonymically, as in calling a naval admiral "the brass." The present studies investigated the anaphoric inferences that occur during comprehension of figurative referential descriptions. Subjects read(More)
Six experiments examined why some idioms can be syntactically changed and still retain their figurative meanings (e.g., John laid down the law can be passivized as The law was laid down by John), while other idioms cannot be syntactically altered without losing their figurative meanings (e.g., John kicked the bucket cannot be passivized into The bucket was(More)
We demonstrate in two experiments that real and imagined body movements appropriate to metaphorical phrases facilitate people's immediate comprehension of these phrases. Participants first learned to make different body movements given specific cues. In two reading time studies, people were faster to understand a metaphorical phrase, such as push the(More)
Two sets of experiments examined people's embodied understanding of metaphorical narratives. Participants heard one of two stories about a romantic relationship; either one that was successful or one that was not, that initially described it in metaphorical terms as "Your relationship was moving along in a good direction" or nonmetaphorical terms as "Your(More)
We conducted three experiments to investigate the mental images associated with idiomatic phrases in English. Our hypothesis was that people should have strong conventional images for many idioms and that the regularity in people's knowledge of their images for idioms is due to the conceptual metaphors motivating the figurative meanings of idioms. In the(More)