Poetry News

Context, Baby: The Power of Metaphor

By Harriet Staff

A fascinating study by Paul Thibodeau and Lera Boroditsky, from Stanford University, explores the power of metaphor through five experiments "designed to tease apart the 'why' and 'when' of metaphor's power." 482 students were asked to read two identical reports of crime in the city of Addison, only the description of the crimes was switched in each report from "wild beast preying on the city" and "lurking in neighborhoods" to "virus infecting the city" and "plaguing" communities, with fascinating results, which can be read here.

Originally Published: May 23rd, 2011