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PT&LB Metaphors WE think WITH

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Summary of a paper: Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning by Paul H. Thibodeau, Lera Boroditsky published in …

Summary of a paper: Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning by Paul H. Thibodeau, Lera Boroditsky published in http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0016782

This summary is short and servers as an introduction to a discussion event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=207343529339058


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  • 1. graduate student, department of psychology, stanford university Paul Thibodeau & Lera Boroditsky assistant professor, department of psychology, stanford university @leraboroditsky Summary by Konrad Juszczyk for REMAT+ meeting: October, 27 2011niedziela, 23 października 11 1
  • 2. Oxford-style debate Do the languages we speak shape the way we think? Lera Boroditsky represented the “pro” side "Pro" won by reader vote (78%) Dec, 13-23 2010niedziela, 23 października 11 2
  • 3. Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning The Public Library of Science (PLoS) NEW! (Feb, 23 2011) Open access journal (http://www.plosone.org) PLoS ONE features reports of original research from all disciplines within science and medicine. By not excluding papers on the basis of subject area, PLoS ONE facilitates the discovery of the connections between papers whether within or between disciplines. http://d.pr/72C6 (download the paper from plosone)niedziela, 23 października 11 3
  • 4. General questions to text: What is the role of metaphor in reasoning? How changing the metaphor may influence understanding the text and decision making? How people explain their understanding of text? How we can influence people with a metaphor?niedziela, 23 października 11 4
  • 5. Metaphors we think with? Critics argue that very little work has empirically demonstrated that metaphors in language influence how people think about and solve real-world problems [14]. [14] Pinker S (2007) The stuff of thought: Language as a window in human nature. New York, NY: Penguin Books. PT & LB: do we reason about complex social issues in the same way that we talk about them?niedziela, 23 października 11 5
  • 6. CRIME AS A... virus beast dealing with a crime like with virus epidemic animal attack Might   talking   about   crime   as   a   beast/virus   lead   people   to   propose   dealing   with   a   crime   problem   the   same   way   as   one   would  deal  with  a  literal  wild  animal  attack/virus  epidemic?niedziela, 23 października 11 6
  • 7. 28 participants in survey Imagine... „virus „wild inflecting beast the city” preying •investigate the source of the virus on a city” •develop a vaccine •encourage residents to follow better hygiene practices describe the best way to solve the problem What if a virus or a beast •capture the beast would be used as a •organize a hunting party metaphor of a crime? •stop it from ravaging the cityniedziela, 23 października 11 7
  • 8. report about increasing crime rates in the City of Addison infecting & plaguing preying & lurking participants proposed different solutions investigate the catch and jail root causes and criminals and treat the problem enact harsher by enacting enforcement social reform laws EXPERIMENT 1niedziela, 23 października 11 8
  • 9. Crime is a virus/beast ravaging the city of Addison virus beast participants proposed different solutions investigate the catch and jail root causes and criminals and treat the problem enact harsher by enacting enforcement social reform laws EXPERIMENT 2niedziela, 23 października 11 9
  • 10. participants were asked to provide a synonym to the word virus beast Crime is ravaging the city of Addison This disconnected lexical prime did not yield differences in people’s crime-fighting suggestions, revealing that metaphors act as more than just isolated words – their power appears to come from participating in elaborated knowledge structures. EXPERIMENT 3niedziela, 23 października 11 10
  • 11. Crime is a virus/beast ravaging the city of Addison the metaphoric frame was presented in the first sentence of the report virus beast participants were given the opportunity to gather further information about the issue participants chose to look at information that was consistent with the metaphorical frame EXPERIMENT 4niedziela, 23 października 11 11
  • 12. Crime is a virus/beast ravaging the city of Addison virus beast the metaphoric frame was presented in last sentence of the report late metaphorical framing had no effect on people’s crime-related information foraging EXPERIMENT 5niedziela, 23 października 11 12
  • 13. Covert power of metaphor When given the opportunity to identify the most influential aspect of the crime report, participants ignore the metaphor. Instead, they cite the crime statistics as being influential in their reasoning.niedziela, 23 października 11 13
  • 14. Participants’ political affiliation At the end of Experiments 2–5, we asked participants to report their political affiliation (Democrat, Independent, or Republican) and their gender. We found a predictable relationship between political affiliation and the tendency to emphasize enforcement in one’s response. A logistic regression revealed political affiliation to be a significant predictor of people’s crime- fighting suggestions: comparing a model with political affiliation included as a predictor to a constant-only model was statistically significant.niedziela, 23 października 11 14
  • 15. Gender as a predictor? We also found systematic differences by gender: 46% of responses from men and 38% of responses from women suggested enforcement. Comparing a logistic regression model with gender included as a predictor to a constant- only model was statistically significant. Men and women were equally influenced by the metaphorical frames.niedziela, 23 października 11 15
  • 16. one conclusion is... The studies presented in this paper demonstrate that even minimal (one-word) metaphors can significantly shift people’s representations and reasoning about important real-world do- mains. These findings suggest that people don’t have a single integrated representation of complex issues like crime, but rather rely on a patchwork of (sometimes disconnected or inconsistent) representations and can (without realizing it) dynamically shift between them when cued in context.niedziela, 23 października 11 16