Brains Love Strong Metaphors

Understanding brain science can make you a better writer.

I found this article about scientists studying the effect of fiction on the brain. Here’s a clip of something intriguing—and proof of that “avoid cliches” writing advice.

The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like “a rough day” are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. Last month, however, a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active. Metaphors like “The singer had a velvet voice” and “He had leathery hands” roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like “The singer had a pleasing voice” and “He had strong hands,” did not.

Read the rest: Your Brain on Fiction

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3 thoughts on “Brains Love Strong Metaphors

  1. The brain, certainly the first computer, are so complex! Loved that we distinguish between language modifiers. Especially loved that our brain behaves differently to these!

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