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Applying eye-tracking technologies to metaphor comprehension and beyond

Recent literature (e.g., Almohammadi, Gaskins & Rundblad, forthc.; Gaskins & Rundblad, 2023; Gaskins, Falcone, Rundblad, 2003) has drawn clear lines between metaphors which are perceptual (e.g., You’re mytreasure, i.e., a dear individual) and those that are conceptual (e.g., You’re such a honey, i.e., a sweet individual). Such literature, however, is largely based on offline comprehension and production tasks.

As it has recently been proposed that eye-tracking technologies can shed light on pragmatic abilities with uses of figurative language that might be masked by offline task demands (e.g., reflective reasoning and decision-making abilities) (Köder & Falkum, 2020), we set out to test if novel perceptual and conceptual metaphors are comprehended differently in real time through an eye-tracking experiment with adult participants.

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigators


Funding Body: School of Education, Communication & Society

Amount: £2,977.20

Period: September 2023 - July 2024