Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2020 Vol. 13 Issue 73

Migun J.P. The metaphorical relativity hypothesis: confirm or disprove?

Full text in Russian: Мигун Ю.П. Гипотеза метафорической относительности: признать нельзя отвергнуть

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia

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The hypothesis of linguistic relativity is well-known in cognitive psychology. It implies the relationship between the structure of a language and cognitive processes. There are two versions of this hypothesis at present: a strong one, claiming that language determines cognitive processes, and a weak one, claiming that language just has an effect on cognitive processes. Considerable empirical evidence exists to support both versions of this hypothesis.
To date, cognitive science has accumulated sufficient evidence, which allows putting forward the hypothesis of metaphorical relativity. According to this hypothesis, there is a connection between metaphorical representations of a person and one’s cognitive processes. This article aims to present theoretical models of metaphoric relativity and empirical evidence in support. Additionally, the aim is to formulate limitations, issues, and questions to be answered with regards to the described theories and to propose possible solutions. With this aim we considered existing conceptualizations of the “metaphor” as well as the approaches to metaphor processing such as conceptual theory of metaphors, the theory of perceptual symbols; we provided empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis of metaphorical relativity and mentioned the limitations given the existing research; at last we concluded whether theoretical and empirical data is enough to confirm the hypothesis of metaphorical relativity. Recommendations for the future research are also introduced.

Keywords: metaphor, hypothesis of linguistic relativity, hypothesis of metaphoric relativity, embodied cognition, sensorimotor processes, conceptual theory of metaphor, perceptual symbols 

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Cyrillic letters are transliterated according to BSI standards. The titles are given in author’s translation.

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Received 05 June 2020. Date of publication: 04 November 2020.

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Migun Julia P. Research Associate, Cognitive Research Laboratory, Institute for Social Sciences, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Prospect Vernadskogo, 82, 119571 Moscow, Russia
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Migun J.P. The metaphorical relativity hypothesis: confirm or disprove? Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2020, Vol. 13, No. 73, p. 5. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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