+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Conventional metaphors in longer passages evoke affective brain response

Conventional metaphors in longer passages evoke affective brain response

Neuroimage 139: 218-230

Conventional metaphorical sentences such as She's asweetchild have been found to elicit greater amygdala activation than matched literal sentences (e.g., She's akindchild). 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. This work is the first to show that conventional metaphorical language in naturalistic longer passages that includes a range of metaphors elicits more activation in the amygdala-an area recognized to be involved in emotional processing-than carefully matched literal control passages. We probe this finding with parametric analyses using a measure of syntactic complexity and subjective judgments of metaphoricity. While complexity correlates with more overall bilateral activation of the temporal lobes, it does not correlate with amygdala activation. Instead, amygdala activation correlates with metaphoricity, suggesting that the increase in emotional salience is specific to metaphoricity and is not simply a result of an overall increase in brain activity in regions associated with language comprehension.

Please choose payment method:

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 057506405

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27346546

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.06.020

Related references

Affective and non-affective touch evoke differential brain responses in 2-month-old infants. NeuroImage 169: 162-171, 2018

Productive figurative communication: Conventional metaphors facilitate the comprehension of related novel metaphors. Journal of Memory and Language 58(2): 521-540, 2008

The repetition paradigm: enhancement of novel metaphors and suppression of conventional metaphors in the left inferior parietal lobe. Neuropsychologia 50(12): 2705-2719, 2013

Adjective metaphors evoke negative meanings. Plos One 9(2): E89008, 2015

How to do Things with Metaphors: Reflections on the Role of Metaphors and Metaphor Theory for the History of Science Using the Example of Shock Metaphors in Medicine. Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 38(4): 321-342, 2016

Children evoke similar affective and instructional responses from their teachers and mothers. International Journal of Behavioral Development 39(5): 432-444, 2015

Different response of ENU-exposed and unexposed rat brain cells to cholera toxin at early passages in culture. British Journal of Cancer 43(2): 240-244, 1981

The mechanism of valence-space metaphors: ERP evidence for affective word processing. Plos One 9(6): E99479, 2015

The language of caring: nurse's aides' use of family metaphors conveys affective care. Gerontologist 47(3): 340-349, 2007

An fMRI study of affective perspective taking in individuals with psychopathy: imagining another in pain does not evoke empathy. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7: 489, 2013

Comprehending conventional and novel metaphors: an ERP study. Brain Research 1284: 145-155, 2009

Public passages, personal passages, and reluctant passages: notes on investigating cancer disclosure practices in Japan. Journal of Medical Humanities 21(1): 3-13, 2001

Gender differences in implicit and explicit memory for affective passages. Brain and Cognition 54(3): 218-224, 2004

Functional MRI of conventional and anomalous metaphors in Mandarin Chinese. Brain and Language 100(2): 163-171, 2005

All is metaphor: Conventional metaphors in human thought and language. Reviews in Anthropology 9(3): 287-297, 1982