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Emotion. 2009 Aug;9(4):464-77. doi: 10.1037/a0015764.

Hot-headed is more than an expression: the embodied representation of anger in terms of heat.

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University of Wyoming, Department of Psychology, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.


Anger is frequently referred to in terms of heat-related metaphors (e.g., hot-headed). The metaphoric representation perspective contends that such metaphors are not simply a poetic means of expressing anger but actually reflect the manner in which the concept of anger is cognitively represented. Drawing upon this perspective, the present studies examined the idea that the cognitive representation of anger is systematically related to the cognitive representation of heat. A total of 7 studies, involving 438 participants, provided support for this view. Visual depictions of heat facilitated the use of anger-related conceptual knowledge, and this occurred in tasks involving lexical stimuli as well as facial expressions. Furthermore, priming anger-related thoughts led participants to judge unfamiliar cities and the actual room temperature as hotter in nature. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for embodied views of emotion concepts and their potential social consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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