The Impact of Conventional and Novel Metaphors in News on Issue Viewpoint

Amber Boeynaems, Christian Burgers, Elly A. Konijn, Gerard J. Steen


Metaphors are often used to frame news. Different types of metaphor (conventional, novel) can affect issue viewpoint via different underlying mechanisms (cognitive and affective text perception). We conducted a single-factor (type of expression: conventional metaphor, novel metaphor, nonmetaphorical expression) between-subjects experiment with text perception (cognitive, affective) and issue viewpoint as dependent variables and perceived novelty and perceived aptness of the metaphors as control variables. Type of expression did not affect issue viewpoint. Rather, we found indirect effects of metaphors on both cognitive and affective text perception via perceived novelty and aptness. Perceived novelty positively affected cognitive and affective text perception. However, for cognitive text perception, the positive effect of perceived novelty was countered by a negative effect of perceived aptness. This shows that metaphors work through different mechanisms, evoked by two different types of metaphor perception (perceived novelty, perceived aptness).


metaphorical framing, news, text perception, issue viewpoint, novelty, aptness

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