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Emotional Implications of Metaphor: Consequences of Metaphor Framing for Mindset about Cancer

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/02/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Metaphor and Symbol
Issue number4
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)267-279
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date11/02/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When faced with hardship, how do we emotionally appraise the situation? Although many factors contribute to our reasoning about hardships, in this article we focus on the role of linguistic metaphor in shaping how we cope. In five experiments, we find that framing a person’s cancer situation as a “battle” encourages people to believe that that person is more likely to feel guilty if they do not recover than framing the same situation as a “journey” does. Conversely, the “journey” frame is more likely to encourage the inference that the person can make peace with their situation than the “battle” frame. We rule out lexical priming as an explanation for this effect and examine the generalizability of these findings to individual differences across participants and to a different type of hardship—namely, an experience with depression. Finally, we examine the language participants produced after encountering one of these metaphors, and we find tendencies to repeat and extend the metaphors encountered. Together, these experiments shed light on the influential role of linguistic metaphor in the way we emotionally appraise hardship situations.