Jones, LARA LYNN
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Do people understand metaphors (e.g., That room is an oven) in the same way they understand literal categorical assertions (e.g., That fern is a plant)? The class-inclusion model claims that people understand metaphors by interpreting the topic (or subject) to be a member of the ad hoc category named after and exemplified by the vehicle (or predicate). For instance, the topic ROOM would be interpreted as a member of the vehicle, OVEN, which exemplifies the ad hoc category “things that are very hot.” In two experiments, participants rated the extent to which a topic was a member of a vehicle category (e.g., “To what extent is a ROOM a member of the category OVEN?”). Results supported the class-inclusion model. Category membership was higher following a metaphorical prime than following either a literal prime (Experiment 1) or no prime (Experiment 2).