Metaphor Analysis in Psychology—Method, Theory, and Fields of Application

Karin S. Moser


The analysis of metaphors is a classical research theme in linguistics, but has received very little attention in psychological research so far. Metaphor analysis—as conceptualized in cognitive linguistics—is proposed here as a qualitative method for psychological research for several reasons. Metaphors are culturally and socially defined, yet they also represent a basic cognitive strategy of analogical problem solving. Metaphors are context-sensitive, yet at the same time they are abstract models of reality much in the same way as mental models and schemata in cognitive psychology. The multifaceted properties of metaphors allow for the study of micro-interactions between cognition and culture in open and qualitative research designs. They also enable the bridging of the gap between quantitative-experimental and qualitative approaches in psychology. Because metaphors are of high plausibility in everyday experience, metaphors are a valuable tool for interventions in applied fields of research such as organizational and work psychology.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0002212


Metaphor analysis; analogy; cognitive linguistics; context-sensitivity; mental models; schemata; cognitive anthropology; distributed representation; tacit knowledge

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Copyright (c) 2000 Karin S. Moser

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