Morgan and Reichert - 1999 - The Message is in the Metaphor Assessing the Comp

It is important to point out that the relative advan

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It is important to point out that the relative advan- tage that visual metaphors may have over verbal metaphors in product advertisements is probably not a result of any difference in how these metaphors would be processed neurolinguistically. Although gen- erally speaking, visual information is processed by the right hemisphere of the brain and most elements of verbal communication are processed by the left hemisphere, metaphors are considered a "special case" of language, where receivers must process the verbal elements of a metaphor in a more holistic or creative way. Metaphors constitute a violation of the normal, literal use of language (Kaplan 1992; McQuarrie and Mick 1996) and thus require somewhat more work on the part of the receiver to comprehend (although, as McQuarrie and Mick [1996] point out, this effort is often pleasurable). This type of comprehension occurs as a result of right hemisphere processing. There is no reason to believe, therefore, that verbal metaphors would be best comprehended by those high in left hemi- sphere processing abilities or that visual metaphors would be better understood than verbal metaphors by those who are high in right hemisphere processingabili- ties. It appears from current research that the compre- hension of all metaphors involves functions associated with the right hemisphere, or it occurs via some coop- eration between the left and right hemispheres. Hypotheses and Research Questions Our first question sought to determine how well people understand metaphors contained in print ad- vertisements. It appears from the ubiquity of meta- phors in advertising that advertisers assume con- sumers understand the intended meaning. The amount of resources devoted to the production and The Journal of Advertising distribution of these ads demands that they are effec- tive in persuading consumers to purchase these goods or services; however, there is a paucity of research that clearly demonstrates the level of comprehension of metaphors in advertising. RQ1: How well are metaphors contained in advertisements understood? Given the definition of concrete and abstract meta- phors discussed earlier, metaphors based on concrete comparisons (i.e.,grounded in sensory experiences) will be more familiar and more tangible to respondents compared to those based on abstract comparisons. Therefore, respondents should be able to "translate" concrete metaphors better than abstract metaphors. H1: Concrete metaphors in advertisements will be easier to understand than ab- stract metaphors in advertisements. Ads containing abstract metaphors should be par- ticularly challenging to understand. However, those people who have the greatest degree of "cooperation" between the creative (right) and analytical (left) hemi- spheres should have the advantage in understanding abstract metaphors. High integrative processing in- dividuals are likely to be less reliant on concrete (sense) experience since this category represents an ability to be "creatively analytical." H2a: People scoring high in integrative pro- cessing will understand ads containing abstract metaphors better
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  • Spring '16
  • Aeron Davis
  • Advertising, Abstract Metaphors

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