Professor Adele Goldberg (Department of Psychology, Princeton University) will give a talk titled “Meaning and Metaphor” on Friday, November 22. The talk begins at 4 p.m. in room R0220 Ross School of Business. Light refreshments will be provided. All are welcome!


Words typically convey a rich and varied array of related meanings. A common way that word meaning is extended is via conceptual metaphors. For instance, we can talk about experiences as if they were food (a bitter pill; a treat). Such metaphorically extended words and phrases are regularly used even when literal paraphrases exist, which raises the question as to why metaphorical language is so common. fMRI work has found that literal meanings remain active even when words are used metaphorically, which may imply that metaphorical uses of words have richer semantic representations. Moreover, recent work has found that metaphorical statements and short stories activate the amygdala more than carefully matched literal paraphrases, indicating that conceptual metaphors are more engaging than their literal counterparts.

*The work to be presented was done in collaboration with Francesca Citron of Lancaster University.