The social cognitive dynamics of metaphor performance

Gibbs, Raymond W. and Cameron, Lynne (2008). The social cognitive dynamics of metaphor performance. Cognitive Systems Research, 9(1-2) pp. 64–75.



This paper describes some of the social-cognitive dynamics in people’s production and understanding of metaphoric anguage. We adopt a dynamical systems approach to outline how different social and cognitive processes operates simultaneously as talk unfolds along different nested time-scales, which interact in complex, nonlinear ways to shape ‘‘metaphor performance’’. Adopting a dynamic systems approach demonstrates how elements of metaphor performance that have been previously thought of as fixed or static are re-interpreted as potential emergent stabilities in the dynamical systems. This approach is applied to the analysis of a single conversation between two participants to get an overall impression of the interaction between these various forces when metaphor is produced and understood and to illustrate the stability and variability in metaphor performance.

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