Metaphorical interpretation: An investigation of the salience imbalance hypothesis

John E. Readence, R. Scott Baldwin, Michael A. Martin, David G. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Investigated the validity of one aspect of the similarity theory of metaphorical processing, the salience imbalance hypothesis. This hypothesis states that metaphorical interpretation is related to the relative salience of attributes shared within and across the domains of the topic and vehicle. Exp I, with 54 6th graders and 22 university students, established that salience imbalance was directly related to metaphorical interpretation. Exp II, with 24 undergraduates, sought to determine whether salience imbalance was critical to metaphorical interpretation. Data indicate that salience imbalance generally enhanced metaphorical interpretation but was not a necessity. Examples of such instances are provided. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1984


  • salience imbalance, metaphorical interpretation, 6th graders vs college students


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