Cognitive metaphors

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Cognitive metaphors

Postby Richard » 03 Nov 2021 10:04

While looking for something else, I accidentally came across a database of cognitive metaphors: ... metaphors/
This gives a long list of standard metaphors with examples. A couple of my favourites:
IDEAS are FOOD: That class gave me food for thought. His idea was half-baked. He insisted on sugar-coating his warnings. She has an insatiable curiosity.
PEOPLE are PLANTS: She's a late bloomer. She is in the flower of youth. She's let herself go to seed.

Any favourites? Any ideas how to exploit this in research?
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Re: Cognitive metaphors

Postby stevelouw » 15 Nov 2021 13:24

This is fun. For research, it certainly could useful for a metaphor analysis of interviews. When looking at beliefs, the way people describe their worlds using metaphors is useful. There is a paper by Farrell titled 'The teacher is an octopus' ( ... 4cG2YgisHU) which is a metaphor analysis of teachers' beliefs about the classroom ('teaching is war' was one that came from that paper too, I think). When I considering doing a metaphor analysis on my interview data, I found it hard to get started with identifying metaphors. Perhaps this site would have been a good way for me to have got a foot in, so to speak. Research is a journey, you see.

Anyway, the ones I like from this site are:
'the mind is a brittle object' - 'his mind snapped', 'he's fragile';
'ideas are food' - 'let me chew on that for a while', and 'I'm tired of warmed-over theories'. There are a lot of subcategories in the 'ideas are food' metaphor. Such sweet concepts!
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Re: Cognitive metaphors

Postby Richard » 30 Jan 2024 08:24

Since we looked at metaphors for research yesterday, I though I would revisit the Lakoff website of cognitive metaphors which draw on common phrases. Unfortunately, 'research is cooking' isn't there - instead, "Conducting Research Is Solving A Puzzle".

It does, however, list 6 competing metaphors for Theories:


Which of these is most like how you conceptualise theories?
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Re: Cognitive metaphors

Postby Yukari2702 » 06 Feb 2024 16:16

Thank you ka, Aj. Richard for checking the metaphors. After reading the metaphors on the Lakoff website, I like "Theories are plants" under "Theories_Are_Beings_With_Life_Cycles."

-- 1 This theory is withering on the vine.
-- 2 This theory is still productive.
-- 3 This theory is past the time when it can bear fruit for us.
-- 4 The theory grew out of their earlier work.
-- 5 The theory was a natural outgrowth of their work.
-- 6 Many theories sprang up out of the fertile soil of his discoveries.
-- 7 The theory was nourished by later experimental results.

It is fun to imagine that theories are alive, dynamic and multifaced. Learning about theories helps researchers generate images and process new knowledge just like in Schema Theory we learned today. But at the same time, researchers should expect unexpected things to happen as there may always be discoveries about supposedly well-known plants.
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