Aptness Predicts Metaphor Preference in the Lab and on the Internet

Metaphor and Symbol 31 (1):31-46 (2016)

Experimental studies have suggested that variables such as aptness or conventionality are predictors of people’s preference for expressing a particular topic–vehicle pair as either a metaphor or a simile. In the present study, we investigated if such variables would also be predictive within a more naturalistic context, where other variables, such as the intention to include an explanation, may also influence people’s decision. Specifically, we investigated the production of metaphor and simile expressions on the Internet via the Google search engine and checked for accompanying explanations, as well as the properties they expressed, to examine whether ratings such as aptness, conventionality, as well as participants’ own stated preference or the intention to produce an explanation, would predict which topic–vehicle pairs appeared more often as metaphor. We found that participants’ stated preference predicted metaphor dominance on the Internet, and that apt topic–vehicles occurred more often as metaphors. The explanations collected, however, occurred 82% of the time after similes, and familiar expressions were the most explained. Finally, comparing the properties expressed in these explanations to normed property lists, we found that simile explanations typically expressed a novel conception of the topic–vehicle relationship. Therefore, we found that Internet posters use metaphors to convey an apt relationship, as found in previous laboratory studies, but prefer using a simile frame when they want to express a relationship that readers will find novel.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/10926488.2016.1116908
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,980
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Objects in Space As Metaphor for the Internet.Robert Boyd Skipper - 2002 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 9 (1):83-88.
Metaphor, Simile, and the Exaggeration of Likeness.John Barnden - 2015 - Metaphor and Symbol 30 (1):41-62.
Reductive and Nonreductive Simile Theories of Metaphor.Lynne Tirrell - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (7):337-358.
Objects of Metaphor.Samuel Guttenplan - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Structure-Mapping in Metaphor Comprehension.Phillip Wolff & Dedre Gentner - 2011 - Cognitive Science 35 (8):1456-1488.
Aptness and Truth in Verbal Metaphor.David Hills - 1997 - Philosophical Topics 25 (1):117-153.
Knowledge as Aptness.Stewart Cohen - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 144 (1):121--125.
Pictorial Metaphor.Sun-Ah Kang - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 1:121-127.
Internalized Constraints May Function as an Emulator.Margaret Wilson - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (4):710-711.


Added to PP index

Total views
10 ( #730,280 of 2,266,543 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #280,840 of 2,266,543 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature