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DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2022-8-3-0-5

Metaphoric construal and its effect on gaze behavior of the readers with better and worse working memory

Language creativity studies are now exploring new experimental methods which test the readers’ figurative thought. In the current work, we address the gaze behavior as contingent on figurative language construal in two participants’ groups with different amount of working memory. We verify the hypothesis that apart from metaphor types, novel and entrenched, gaze behavior is affected by metaphor construal patterns, here described as parameters. The study specifies the cognitive parameters of Referent construal, Event Frame construal, Perspective construal, and the linguistic parameters of graphological, lexical and syntactic construal. Regression analysis reveals several predictors of steady decrease and increase of the gaze costs within two participant groups. The participants with better working memory display higher gaze costs when the construal lacks action or dynamics; whereas the participants with worse working memory are affected by both linguistic and cognitive construal parameters including Clause-initial position for contrastive focus, Lexical synonyms and antonyms, Spontaneous or occasional event, Lack of action or dynamics. We also identified the predictors which decrease the gaze costs; the participants with worse working memory are affected by Perception (Event type), Shifting / changing, Agentive participant, Intensifiers in pre-position. Overall, the participants with worse working memory pay more attention to linguistic construal of metaphors, presumably, it creates additional affordances for metaphor construal; at the same time lower dynamicity in the cognitive construal produces higher gaze costs in both groups. The study shows that irrespective of the metaphor type, several construal patterns produce consistent gaze costs, either increased or decreased.

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