Metaphor, memory and movement – Conceptual Metaphor Theory not supported in association with recognition and recall.
Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) states that certain metaphor classes develop due to universal embodied human experiences and that these metaphor classes then influence cognitive processes and behaviour. In this paper, we investigated if movements made during learning affected memory. The hypothesis was that a movement that was congruent with the metaphor class up is good/down is bad would assist learning of valenced words and result in better recognition or recall, while incongruent movements would hinder learning and lead to poorer recognition and recall. Using an online survey, undergraduates were asked to learn nonsense words and their valenced meaning in English. They were then asked to make a movement – depending on the word’s valence – that was either congruent, incongruent or neutral to the metaphor class up is good/down is bad before being tested on recognition or recall accuracy. An Analysis of Variance was carried out. Participants were less accurate in recognition when they made a movement that was incongruent with the metaphor class up is good/down is bad than when they made a congruent or neutral movement. When recalling valenced meanings, the movement made by participants did not have any impact on recall accuracy. We concluded CMT may not be as robust as previous research has indicated.
Keywords: conceptual metaphor theory, memory, movement, recognition, recall