The Situationist

Archive for October 20th, 2009

Our Metaphorical Situation

Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 20, 2009

cold personWe recently published a post based on Drake Bennett’s terrific overview of the burgeoning research on the embodied cognition.  Here’s a quick excerpt from that post.

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Now, however, a new group of people has started to take an intense interest in metaphors: psychologists. Drawing on philosophy and linguistics, cognitive scientists have begun to see the basic metaphors that we use all the time not just as turns of phrase, but as keys to the structure of thought. By taking these everyday metaphors as literally as possible, psychologists are upending traditional ideas of how we learn, reason, and make sense of the world around us. The result has been a torrent of research testing the links between metaphors and their physical roots . . . . Researchers have sought to determine whether the temperature of an object in someone’s hands determines how ”warm” or ”cold” he considers a person he meets, whether the heft of a held object affects how ”weighty” people consider topics they are presented with, or whether people think of the powerful as physically more elevated than the less powerful.

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We just encountered an interesting public radio interview, which we thought was worth sharing, of social psychologist Joshua Ackerman on related topics.  You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

To read a sample of related Situationist posts, seeThe Situation of Metaphors,” “Bargh and Baumeister and the Free Will DebatePart I & Part II” “The Situation of Body Temperature,” Social Psychology and the Unconscious: The Automaticity of Higher Processes,” “Unclean Hands,” “The Body Has a Mind of its Own,” Ideology Shaping Situation, or Vice Versa?,” “The Situation of Snacking,” “The Situation of Imitation and Mimickry,” and The (Unconscious) Situation of our Consciousness – Part I, Part II, Part III, & Part IV.”

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