skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2023

Title: An Individual-Differences Approach to Poetic Metaphor: Impact of Aptness and Familiarity
Using poetic metaphors in the Serbian language, we identified systematic variations in the impact of fluid and crystalized intelligence on comprehen-sion of metaphors that varied in rated aptness and familiarity. Overall, comprehension scores were higher for metaphors that were high rather than low in aptness, and high rather than low in familiarity. A measure of crystalized intelligence was a robust predictor of comprehension across the full range of metaphors, but especially for those that were either relatively unfamiliar or more apt. In contrast, individual differences associated with fluid intelligence were clearly found only for metaphors that were low in aptness. Superior verbal knowledge appears to be particularly important when trying to find meaning in novel metaphorical expressions, and also when exploring the rich interpretive potential of apt metaphors. The broad role of crystalized intelligence in metaphor comprehension is consistent with the view that metaphors are largely understood using semantic integration processes continuous with those that operate in understanding literal language.
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1827374
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10330124
Journal Name:
Metaphor and symbol
ISSN:
1092-6488
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. This Work-in-Progress paper investigates how students participating in a chemical engineering (ChE) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program conceptualize and make plans for research projects. The National Science Foundation has invested substantial financial resources in REU programs, which allow undergraduate students the opportunity to work with faculty in their labs and to conduct hands-on experiments. Prior research has shown that REU programs have an impact on students’ perceptions of their research skills, often measured through the Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA) survey. However, few evaluation and research studies have gone beyond perception data to include direct measures of students’ gainsmore »from program participation. This work-in-progress describes efforts to evaluate the impact of an REU on students’ conceptualization and planning of research studies using a pre-post semi-structured interview process. The construct being investigated for this study is planning, which has been espoused as a critical step in the self-regulated learning (SRL) process (Winne & Perry, 2000; Zimmerman, 2008). Students who effectively self-regulate demonstrate higher levels of achievement and comprehension (Dignath & Büttner, 2008), and (arguably) work efficiency. Planning is also a critical step in large projects, such as research (Dvir & Lechler, 2004). Those who effectively plan their projects make consistent progress and are more likely to achieve project success (Dvir, Raz, & Shenhar, 2003). Prior REU research has been important in demonstrating some positive impacts of REU programs, but it is time to dig deeper into the potential benefits to REU participation. Many REU students are included in weekly lab meetings, and thus potentially take part in the planning process for research projects. Thus, the research question explored here is: How do REU participants conceptualize and make plans for research projects? The study was conducted in the ChE REU program at a large, mid-Atlantic research-oriented university during the summer of 2018. Sixteen students in the program participated in the study, which entailed them completing a planning task followed by a semi-structured interview at the start and the end of the REU program. During each session, participants read a case statement that asked them to outline a plan in writing for a research project from beginning to end. Using semi-structured interview procedures, their written outlines were then verbally described. The verbalizations were recorded and transcribed. Two members of the research team are currently analyzing the responses using an open coding process to gain familiarity with the transcripts. The data will be recoded based on the initial open coding and in line with a self-regulatory and project-management framework. Results: Coding is underway, preliminary results will be ready by the draft submission deadline. The methods employed in this study might prove fruitful in understanding the direct impact on students’ knowledge, rather than relying on their perceptions of gains. Future research could investigate differences in students’ research plans based on prior research experience, research intensity of students’ home institutions, and how their plans may be impacted by training.« less
  2. Metaphors are a common way to express creative language, yet the cognitive basis of figurative language production remains poorly understood. Previous studies found that higher creative individuals can better comprehend novel metaphors, potentially due to a more flexible semantic memory network structure conducive to remote conceptual combination. The present study extends this domain to creative metaphor production and examined whether the ability to produce creative metaphors is related to variation in the structure of semantic memory. Participants completed a creative metaphor production task and two verbal fluency tasks. They were divided into two equal groups based on their creative metaphormore »production score. The semantic networks of these two groups were estimated and analyzed based on their verbal fluency responses using a computational network science approach. Results revealed that the semantic networks of high-metaphor producing individuals were more flexible, clustered, and less rigid than that of the low-metaphor producing individuals. Importantly, these results replicated across both semantic categories. The findings provide the first evidence that a flexible, clustered, and less rigid semantic memory structure relates to people’s ability to produce figurative language, extending the growing literature on the role of semantic networks in creativity to the domain of metaphor production.« less
  3. Global teams frequently consist of language-based subgroups who put together complementary information to achieve common goals. Previous research outlines a two-step work communication flow in these teams. There are team meetings using a required common language (i.e., English); in preparation for those meetings, people have subgroup conversations in their native languages. Work communication at team meetings is often less effective than in subgroup conversations. In the current study, we investigate the idea of leveraging machine translation (MT) to facilitate global team meetings. We hypothesize that exchanging subgroup conversation logs before a team meeting offers contextual information that benefits teamwork atmore »the meeting. MT can translate these logs, which enables comprehension at a low cost. To test our hypothesis, we conducted a between-subjects experiment where twenty quartets of participants performed a personnel selection task. Each quartet included two English native speakers (NS) and two non-native speakers (NNS) whose native language was Mandarin. All participants began the task with subgroup conversations in their native languages, then proceeded to team meetings in English. We manipulated the exchange of subgroup conversation logs prior to team meetings: with MT-mediated exchanges versus without. Analysis of participants' subjective experience, task performance, and depth of discussions as reflected through their conversational moves jointly indicates that team meeting quality improved when there were MT-mediated exchanges of subgroup conversation logs as opposed to no exchanges. We conclude with reflections on when and how MT could be applied to enhance global teamwork across a language barrier.« less
  4. We report a study examining the role of linguistic context in modulating the influences of individual differences in fluid and crystalized intelligence on comprehension of literary metaphors. Three conditions were compared: no context, metaphor-congruent context, and literal-congruent context. Relative to the baseline no-context condition, the metaphor-congruent context facilitated comprehension of the metaphorical meaning whereas the literal-congruent context impaired it. Measures of fluid and crystalized intelligence both made separable contributions to predicting metaphor comprehension. The metaphor-congruent context selectively increased the contribution of crystalized verbal intelligence. These findings support the hypothesis that a supportive linguistic context encourages use of semantic integration inmore »interpreting metaphors.« less
  5. Abstract Expert testimony varies in scientific quality and jurors have a difficult time evaluating evidence quality (McAuliff et al., 2009). In the current study, we apply Fuzzy Trace Theory principles, examining whether visual and gist aids help jurors calibrate to the strength of scientific evidence. Additionally we were interested in the role of jurors’ individual differences in scientific reasoning skills in their understanding of case evidence. Contrary to our preregistered hypotheses, there was no effect of evidence condition or gist aid on evidence understanding. However, individual differences between jurors’ numeracy skills predicted evidence understanding. Summary Poor-quality expert evidence is sometimesmore »admitted into court (Smithburn, 2004). Jurors’ calibration to evidence strength varies widely and is not robustly understood. For instance, previous research has established jurors lack understanding of the role of control groups, confounds, and sample sizes in scientific research (McAuliff, Kovera, & Nunez, 2009; Mill, Gray, & Mandel, 1994). Still others have found that jurors can distinguish weak from strong evidence when the evidence is presented alone, yet not when simultaneously presented with case details (Smith, Bull, & Holliday, 2011). This research highlights the need to present evidence to jurors in a way they can understand. Fuzzy Trace Theory purports that people encode information in exact, verbatim representations and through “gist” representations, which represent summary of meaning (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995). It is possible that the presenting complex scientific evidence to people with verbatim content or appealing to the gist, or bottom-line meaning of the information may influence juror understanding of that evidence. Application of Fuzzy Trace Theory in the medical field has shown that gist representations are beneficial for helping laypeople better understand risk and benefits of medical treatment (Brust-Renck, Reyna, Wilhelms, & Lazar, 2016). Yet, little research has applied Fuzzy Trace Theory to information comprehension and application within the context of a jury (c.f. Reyna et. al., 2015). Additionally, it is likely that jurors’ individual characteristics, such as scientific reasoning abilities and cognitive tendencies, influence their ability to understand and apply complex scientific information (Coutinho, 2006). Methods The purpose of this study was to examine how jurors calibrate to the strength of scientific information, and whether individual difference variables and gist aids inspired by Fuzzy Trace Theory help jurors better understand complicated science of differing quality. We used a 2 (quality of scientific evidence: high vs. low) x 2 (decision aid to improve calibration - gist information vs. no gist information), between-subjects design. All hypotheses were preregistered on the Open Science Framework. Jury-eligible community participants (430 jurors across 90 juries; Mage = 37.58, SD = 16.17, 58% female, 56.93% White). Each jury was randomly assigned to one of the four possible conditions. Participants were asked to individually fill out measures related to their scientific reasoning skills prior to watching a mock jury trial. The trial was about an armed bank robbery and consisted of various pieces of testimony and evidence (e.g. an eyewitness testimony, police lineup identification, and a sweatshirt found with the stolen bank money). The key piece of evidence was mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) evidence collected from hair on a sweatshirt (materials from Hans et al., 2011). Two experts presented opposing opinions about the scientific evidence related to the mtDNA match estimate for the defendant’s identification. The quality and content of this mtDNA evidence differed based on the two conditions. The high quality evidence condition used a larger database than the low quality evidence to compare to the mtDNA sample and could exclude a larger percentage of people. In the decision aid condition, experts in the gist information group presented gist aid inspired visuals and examples to help explain the proportion of people that could not be excluded as a match. Those in the no gist information group were not given any aid to help them understand the mtDNA evidence presented. After viewing the trial, participants filled out a questionnaire on how well they understood the mtDNA evidence and their overall judgments of the case (e.g. verdict, witness credibility, scientific evidence strength). They filled this questionnaire out again after a 45-minute deliberation. Measures We measured Attitudes Toward Science (ATS) with indices of scientific promise and scientific reservations (Hans et al., 2011; originally developed by National Science Board, 2004; 2006). We used Drummond and Fischhoff’s (2015) Scientific Reasoning Scale (SRS) to measure scientific reasoning skills. Weller et al.’s (2012) Numeracy Scale (WNS) measured proficiency in reasoning with quantitative information. The NFC-Short Form (Cacioppo et al., 1984) measured need for cognition. We developed a 20-item multiple-choice comprehension test for the mtDNA scientific information in the cases (modeled on Hans et al., 2011, and McAuliff et al., 2009). Participants were shown 20 statements related to DNA evidence and asked whether these statements were True or False. The test was then scored out of 20 points. Results For this project, we measured calibration to the scientific evidence in a few different ways. We are building a full model with these various operationalizations to be presented at APLS, but focus only on one of the calibration DVs (i.e., objective understanding of the mtDNA evidence) in the current proposal. We conducted a general linear model with total score on the mtDNA understanding measure as the DV and quality of scientific evidence condition, decision aid condition, and the four individual difference measures (i.e., NFC, ATS, WNS, and SRS) as predictors. Contrary to our main hypotheses, neither evidence quality nor decision aid condition affected juror understanding. However, the individual difference variables did: we found significant main effects for Scientific Reasoning Skills, F(1, 427) = 16.03, p <.001, np2 = .04, Weller Numeracy Scale, F(1, 427) = 15.19, p <.001, np2 = .03, and Need for Cognition, F(1, 427) = 16.80, p <.001, np2 = .04, such that those who scored higher on these measures displayed better understanding of the scientific evidence. In addition there was a significant interaction of evidence quality condition and scores on the Weller’s Numeracy Scale, F(1, 427) = 4.10, p = .04, np2 = .01. Further results will be discussed. Discussion These data suggest jurors are not sensitive to differences in the quality of scientific mtDNA evidence, and also that our attempt at helping sensitize them with Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired aids did not improve calibration. Individual scientific reasoning abilities and general cognition styles were better predictors of understanding this scientific information. These results suggest a need for further exploration of approaches to help jurors differentiate between high and low quality evidence. Note: The 3rd author was supported by an AP-LS AP Award for her role in this research. Learning Objective: Participants will be able to describe how individual differences in scientific reasoning skills help jurors understand complex scientific evidence.« less