Metaphorical Framing Influences How We Think about Emotions

Florencia RealiUniversidad de los Andes
Catalina ArciniegasUniversidad de los Andes

Abstract

Conceptual metaphor theory proposes that the conceptual structure of emotions emerges through metaphorization from concrete concepts such spatial orientation and physical containment. Primary metaphors for emotions have been described in a wide range of languages. Here we show the results of a corpus analysis revealing that certain metaphors such as EMOTIONS ARE FLUIDS IN CONTAINERS and EMOTIONS ARE BOUNDED SPACES are quite natural in Spanish. Moreover, the corpus data reveals that BOUNDED SPACE source domain is more frequently mapped onto negative emotions. Second, we consider the question of whether the instantiation of metaphorical framing influences the way we reason about emotions. A questionnaire experiment was conducted to explore this question focusing on the case of locura (madness). Our results show that when madness is framed as a fluid filling a container (the body) people tend to rate symptoms as less enduring and as more likely to be caused by social and environmental factors compared to when it is framed as an enclosed space.

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