Understanding Visual Metaphor: Developmental and Individual Differences || Understanding Visual Metaphor: Developmental and Individual Differences

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<ul><li><p>Understanding Visual Metaphor: Developmental and Individual DifferencesAuthor(s): Nathan Kogan, Kathleen Connor, Augusta Gross and Donald FavaSource: Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Vol. 45, No. 1,Understanding Visual Metaphor: Developmental and Individual Differences (1980), pp. 1-78Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child DevelopmentStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1165832 .Accessed: 01/09/2014 13:21</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Wiley and Society for Research in Child Development are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve andextend access to Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=blackhttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=srcdhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/1165832?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>MONOGRAPHS OF THE SOCIETY FOR RESEARCH IN </p><p>CHILD DEVELOPMENT SERIAL NO. 183, VOL. 45, NO. 1 </p><p>UNDERSTANDING VISUAL METAPHOR: DEVELOPMENTAL </p><p>AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES </p><p>NATHAN KOGAN KATHLEEN CONNOR </p><p>AUGUSTA GROSS </p><p>DONALD FAVA </p><p>NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>MONOGRAPHS OF THE SOCIETY FOR RESEARCH IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT, SERIAL NO. 183, NO. 1 </p><p>CONTENTS </p><p>I. INTRODUCTION 1 </p><p>11. DEVELOPMENT OF A VISUAL METAPHOR TASK 11 </p><p>III. DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS AND INTERNAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE METAPHORIC TRIADS TASK 19 </p><p>IV. EXTERNAL CORRELATES OF PERFORMANCE ON THE METAPHORIC TRIADS TASK 36 </p><p>V. TRAINING METAPHORIC THINKING 50 </p><p>VI. CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS 60 </p><p>REFERENCES 71 </p><p>ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 76 </p><p>APPENDIX: PICTORIAL REPRESENTATIONS OF THE METAPHORIC TRIADS TASK 77 </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>ABSTRACT </p><p>KOGAN, NATHAN; CONNOR, KATHLEEN; GROSS, AUGUSTA; and FAVA, DONALD. Understanding Visual Metaphor: Developmental and Individual Differ- ences. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 1980, 45(1, Serial No. 183). </p><p>The development of an instrument-the Metaphoric Triads Task (MTT)-for the assessment of metaphoric comprehension is described. In the tradition of earlier cognitive-style research, a visual triad format was adopted that offered three possible pairings of pictorial stimuli, one of which was metaphorical in character. A subject's score reflects the number of metaphoric pairings formed (with appropriate metaphoric explanations) across all of the triads of the task. Data are reported for 12 samples of sub- jects (ranging from 7?2 to 28 years of age) who responded to the MTT in a diverse array of studies. Internal analyses of the MTT yielded satisfactory reliabilities (interjudge and internal consistency) and item-sum correlations. Sex differences were negligible, but progressive improvement in MTT score with age was noted. At the same time, a slight modification of the MTT triad format generated performance levels from younger children that approximated those of children 1-3 years older who had taken the MTT in its standard form. Higher MTT scores were generally obtained by those subjects who attempted more pairings, spent more time at the task, and chose the metaphoric pair as "best" among the alternative pairing possi- bilities. Correlations of MTT performance with standardized tests of intel- lective aptitudes and achievements were inconsistent across samples and between the sexes within samples. In contrast, MTT scores were quite con- sistently related to solving difficult analogies, generating high-quality re- sponses to divergent-thinking tasks, and manifesting broad categorizing and physiognomic sensitivity. Significant correlations between the MTT and a set of verbal metaphoric triads offered convergent validational evidence sug- gestive of a general metaphoric style. Some relation was found between MTT performance and teacher ratings of figurative language appreciation and esthetic sensitivity, though it appeared that these might be mediated by </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>KOGAN ET AL. </p><p>the teachers' estimate of the child's overall capability. Finally, three experi- mental training studies were carried out. A requirement of exhaustive pair- ing and informative feedback on pretest items significantly enhanced the MTT performance of the younger children. The provision of appropriate verbal labels for each picture in a triad also significantly enhanced perfor- mance by insuring that children's encoding of the pictures was consistent with the metaphoric linkage in each item. </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>I. INTRODUCTION </p><p>THE CHOICE OF VISUAL METAPHOR </p><p>Metaphor in its most fundamental sense refers to similarity in the midst of difference. Yet, further reflection quickly reveals that such a definition is not entirely adequate. In typical concept-attainment tasks, for example, subjects deliberately search out the similarities among a diverse set of objects. Yet, no one would apply the label "metaphor" to that kind of abstractive process. Metaphor clearly entails a special kind of similarity, one that over- rides conventional category boundaries and brings together objects or events that normally belong to different domains. </p><p>Metaphor is typically expressed through the medium of words, and possibly achieves its ultimate expression in the figurative language of poetry. There is good reason to believe, however, that metaphor is a cognitive rather than a strictly linguistic phenomenon, for examples of nonverbal metaphor can readily be found. Such examples have often been subsumed under other constructs, but the link between such constructs and metaphoric operations would appear to be close. For example, synesthesia (e.g., Marks 1975, 1978; Osgood 1953, 1960) concerns cross-modality matching-that is, sensitivity to the similarities between visual, auditory, tactile, and other types of sensory stimuli. As Osgood notes, an exciting piece of music may be matched with a patch of red color or verbally described as "fiery." Though the former has typically been classified as synesthesia, and the latter as a musical metaphor, it is dubious whether different psychological processes are involved. Indeed, in a recent developmental study of cross-modality matching, Gardner (1974) has employed the term "synesthetic metaphors." </p><p>Another construct that overlaps with metaphor is "physiognomic per- ception" (Werner 1948; Werner &amp; Kaplan 1963). This refers to the fusion of postural-affective states and objectively "neutral" stimuli (e.g., the attribution of emotional properties to line patterns). Wallach and Kogan (1965), for example, had children match emotions expressed in the Light- foot pictures (Engen, Levy, &amp; Schlosberg 1957) with line drawings taken from Steinberg (1960). The children were also asked to describe various </p><p>1 </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>MONOGRAPHS </p><p>line drawings in words. Again, it is highly likely that similar psychological processes are at work, and it would certainly be reasonable to speak of </p><p>"physiognomic metaphors." It is then apparent that we are not doing violence to the constructs of </p><p>synesthesia and physiognomic perception when we place them under the rubric of nonverbal metaphor. Both rest on the capacity to define an event or object from one category in terms of the attributes of objects or events that belong to a different category. But one can extend the argument for nonverbal metaphor further by demonstrating the ease with which verbal </p><p>metaphors can be converted into nonverbal forms. Consider the statement, "The river lazily snakes its way to the sea." The comprehension of such a </p><p>metaphor can be readily examined in the visual realm by appropriate pic- torial representations of a winding river and a coiled snake. An obvious reason for the ease of such a verbal-visual conversion is suggested by Ver- </p><p>brugge (1977). That author argues that figurative language is simply a vehicle to express the "novel perception of resemblances." In other words, figurative language evokes images, and it is the cognitive operation in this nonverbal realm that represents the mediating process in metaphor inter- pretation. A similar argument has been recently advanced by Paivio (1979).' This then further implies that one can study metaphor in direct perception without the use of language. Indeed, Langer (1948) has described metaphor as "abstractive seeing." Note further in this regard that psychologists in the Gestalt tradition (e.g., Arnheim 1949; Asch 1952; Kbhler 1937) have long emphasized the role of endogenous perceptual factors as mediators of meta- phoric similarity. </p><p>Our decision to work with visual metaphor does not imply that we </p><p>necessarily consider this to be the best way to proceed in the present domain. We recognize that metaphor can be studied in sensory modalities other than the visual, but it has been our impression that auditory, tactile, and other sensory domains are simply less tractable from the standpoint of constructing stimulus materials of a metaphoric character. Similarly, we do not at all question that metaphor can be productively studied in its prototypical lin- guistic form, and there is in fact an extensive program of research in progress by Gardner and his associates explicitly directed to the developmental study of verbal metaphor (a review of this work is contained in Gardner, Winner, Bechhofer, &amp; Wolf [1978]). Studies carried out thus far place a heavy </p><p>1 Research specifically directed toward the role of imagery in metaphoric compre- hension has recently begun to appear. Harris, Lahey, and Marsalek (1980) have observed that subjects retrospectively report greater imagery for metaphoric than nonmetaphoric sentences even though the former are considered more difficult to cast in image form. Those authors also have described some vivid examples of images fusing the topic and vehicle of the metaphor in highly imaginative ways. For a less sanguine view of the im- portance of imagery comprehension, the reader should consult Riechmann and Coste (1980). </p><p>2 </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>KOGAN ET AL. </p><p>emphasis upon qualitatively distinctive stages of metaphoric development and owe an obvious intellectual debt to the Piagetian tradition. As Billow (1977) has shown, however, the topic of metaphorical thinking can be exam- ined from many different conceptual vantage points. </p><p>PICTURES VERSUS WORDS2 </p><p>One of the dominant current concerns in cognitive and developmental psychology is the distinction between processing of pictorial and verbal stimuli. Given the authors' decision to concentrate initially upon visual (pic- torial) metaphor, some consideration must be given to the implications of such a choice in the context of what we presently know about cognitive- processing differences between pictures and words. It is important to note that the foregoing distinction is relevant to at least two separate intellectual traditions, and these have not generated identical interpretive conclusions. Experimental child psychologists have carried out numerous studies devoted to age differences in learning and memory for pictorial and verbal informa- tion. Reviews of this research are available in several sources (e.g., Kail &amp; Siegel 1977; Levin 1976; Pressley 1977; Reznick 1977). A reasonable con- sensus appears to exist to the effect that children are especially adept at pro- cessing pictorial information. Further, the superiority of memory for pic- tures over words is maintained into adulthood. Such a conclusion is certainly compatible with the use of pictorial stimuli for the developmental study of metaphor. At the same time, of course, it would be of considerable value to determine whether the picture-over-word superiority generalizes to the domain of metaphoric comprehension. </p><p>Hints of possible generalization can be derived from observations by Kail and Siegel (1977). Those authors note that verbal stimuli can be en- coded denotatively (house as "building") or connotatively (house as "a place of warmth and security"). Connotative encodings appear to be rela- tively rare in children and frequent in adolescents and adults. Since metaphor necessarily involves connotative meaning, the limitation in the use of verbal metaphoric stimuli with younger children is immediately apparent. Pictures, in contrast, can be designed to accentuate connotative aspects (through the inclusion of expressive features of stimuli, e.g.), and hence pictorial metaphor might well be more accessible to children than verbal equivalents. </p><p>2 This heading acknowledges the untenability of the verbal-visual contrast as dis- cussed by Gardner, Howard, and Perkins (1974). Those authors correctly note that verbal material can be visual as well as auditory, and the visual can be verbal or non- verbal. It is proposed that this confusion between media and symbol systems be remedied by adopting Goodman's (1968) distinction between notational and nonnotational systems. We have chosen not to employ the foregoing distinction in the light of its relative un- familiarity in the psychological community. Any reference to visual metaphor in this Monograph is intended strictly in the sense of pictorial depiction of metaphoric similarity. </p><p>3 </p><p>This content downloaded from 92.25.148.81 on Mon, 1 Sep 2014 13:21:05 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>MONOGRAPHS </p><p>The notion that there can be direct pictorial and verbal equivalents is basica...</p></li></ul>

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