Different but the Same: Mental Representations of Negated Similes

Lisanne van Weelden, Joost Schilperoord, Alfons Maes
2017 Metaphor and Symbol  
When people comprehend language, they mentally represent object shape. Previous research has shown that objects that are mentioned in a simile construction (X is like Y) are represented as similarly shaped. The present study examined object shape in mental representations of negated similes (X is NOT like Y). In our experiment participants read negated similes or control sentences without a comparison structure. After having read the sentence, they judged whether two presented objects, which
more » ... e either similarly or dissimilarly shaped, were previously mentioned. Our findings showed that for the negated similes, verification latencies were shorter for similarly shaped than for dissimilarly shaped objects. This shows that the expected situation (without the negation marker), rather than the actual situation is represented. For the control sentences, we did not find such an effect of similarity in shape. We discuss our findings in the light of processing theories of negation and comparison.
doi:10.1080/10926488.2017.1272938 fatcat:txhjpqzt4jcbjhd6wictwxgori