The Power of Metaphor: Examining Its Influence on Social Life

Pages: 301
Item #: 4318123
ISBN: 978-1-4338-1579-9
List Price: $79.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $49.95
Copyright: 2014
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


This book explores the possibility that people understand abstract social concepts using metaphor, which from this perspective is not simply a matter of words. Rather, it is a cognitive tool that people routinely use to understand abstract concepts (such as morality) in terms of superficially dissimilar concepts that are relatively easier to comprehend (such as cleanliness).

Although observations on metaphor's cognitive significance date back to Aristotle, the development of a formal theoretical framework, labeled conceptual metaphor theory, has stimulated systematic empirical study on metaphor's role in social psychological phenomena primarily over the past decade.

This book summarizes current knowledge and integrates recent developments for readers interested in the topic of metaphor and, more broadly, in the cognitive underpinnings of social life.

Some topics covered include

  • overcoming many of the empirical limitations confronting linguistic analyses of conceptual metaphor
  • how metaphoric influences guide perceptions of other people and the self and judgments of right and wrong
  • relying on metaphor when constructing memories of social stimuli
  • the role of metaphor in judgment and decision making
  • how exposure to metaphor in mass political communication influences observers' attitudes toward social and political issues
Table of Contents


I. Metaphor as a Cognitive Tool for Understanding Abstract Social Concepts

  1. Introduction
    Mark J. Landau, Michael D. Robinson, and Brian P. Meier
  2. Conceptual Metaphor in Thought and Social Action
    Raymond W. Gibbs Jr.

II. Metaphor's Role in Social and Personality Psychological Phenomena

  1. Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Person Perception
    Brian P. Meier, Abigail A. Scholer, and Rebecca Fincher-Kiefer
  2. The Role of Conceptual Metaphor in Memory
    L. Elizabeth Crawford
  3. Metaphor in Judgment and Decision Making
    Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz
  4. Dirt, Pollution, and Purity: A Metaphoric Perspective on Morality
    Chen-Bo Zhong and Julian House
  5. Toward a Metaphor-Enriched Personality Psychology
    Michael D. Robinson and Adam K. Fetterman
  6. The Role of Metaphors in Intergroup Relations
    Anne Maass, Caterina Suitner, and Luciano Arcuri
  7. The Metaphoric Framing Model: Political Communication and Public Opinion
    Victor Ottati, Randall Renstrom, and Erika Price

III. Current Issues and Direction for Future Research

  1. Do Evaluative Metaphors Shape Emotional Thought? A Call for New Evidence
    Gary D. Sherman and Gerald L. Clore
  2. Are There Basic Metaphors?
    Simone Schnall
  3. Experiential Origins of Mental Metaphors: Language, Culture, and the Body
    Daniel Casasanto
  4. Metaphor Research in Social-Personality Psychology: The Road Ahead
    Mark J. Landau, Michael D. Robinson, and Brian P. Meier


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Mark J. Landau, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kansas. He received his doctorate from the University of Arizona in 2007.

Dr. Landau has published many articles and chapters focused on metaphor's influence on social cognition and behavior and the role of existential motives in diverse aspects of human behavior.

He has received funding from the National Science Foundation and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Michael D. Robinson, PhD, is a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University. He received his doctorate in social psychology from the University of California, Davis, in 1996. Subsequently, he was trained in emotion in a 3-year national National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) postdoc (advisors Richard Davidson and Gerald Clore).

He has received funding from both the National Science Foundation and NIMH and has extensive editorial experience. Specifically, he has been an associate editor of the Journal of Personality and Cognition & Emotion and is now an associate editor of Emotion, the motivation/emotion section of Social and Personality Psychology Compass, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

He publishes frequently in the areas of personality, cognition, and emotion.

Brian P. Meier, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, where he teaches courses on general psychology, social psychology, and statistics. He received his doctorate in social psychology from North Dakota State University in 2005.

His research is focused on social and personality psychology topics including embodiment, emotion, aggression, prosocial behavior, self-regulation, and mindfulness.

Dr. Meier is a consulting editor for multiple journals and his research has been funded by multiple agencies.

Reviews & Awards

The major strength of this book is its format. Each essay summarizes the research on a specific topic with the field as well as areas of growth. The format serves to provide comprehensive understanding of the breadth of the field as makes each chapter not only complementary on the collective whole, but also able to stand alone without sacrificing understanding of the material.

Readers will find in The Power of Metaphor a wealth of examples of how conceptual metaphors are used in various domains, from social and personality psychology (e.g., up is good and powerful, down is bad and weak) to intergroup relations (e.g., pestilence for immigration). The authors of each chapter make a strong case for the role of metaphor in thought and conceptualization, in addition, of course, to the role of metaphor in interpersonal and intergroup communication. Just as important, the four chapters in the final section of the book point out in detail where further research is needed. The future looks bright and busy.