Do sensory metaphors give language emotional flavor?

Metaphorical sentences may spark increased brain activity in emotion-related regions because they allude to physical experiences …

Human language frequently uses physical sensations or objects to refer to abstract domains such as time, understanding, or emotion …

“You begin to realize when you look at metaphors how common they are in helping us understand abstract domains,” Goldberg says. “It could be that we are more engaged with abstract concepts when we use metaphorical language that ties into physical experiences.”

REFERENCE
Neural sweet talk: Taste metaphors emotionally engage the brain | Princeton University
Tasty metaphors spark brain’s “emotional centers” | Futurity


Why do people so often use metaphorical expressions when literal paraphrases are readily available? This study focuses on a comparison of metaphorical statements involving the source domain of taste (e.g., “She looked at him sweetly”) and their literal paraphrases (e.g., “She looked at him kindly”) … Our findings indicate that conventional metaphorical expressions are more emotionally evocative than literal expressions … They also support the idea that even conventional metaphors can be grounded in sensorimotor and perceptual representations[.]

REFERENCE
Metaphorical sentences are more emotionally engaging than their literal counterparts | Francesca M. M. Citron • Adele E. Goldberg


How does perception inform the interpretation of language? Do we only draw on our physical and emotional experiences to help us process sensory-related words? Or is it possible that the symbolic meaning of any word actually emerges from the processing of physical and emotional information? Could the relationships among physical, emotional, and linguistic processing reflect deeper levels of integration among the cognitive processes of perception, association, and conception?

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