Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2013 Jul 3;8(7):e68100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068100. Print 2013.

Bidirectional transfer between metaphorical related domains in implicit learning of form-meaning connections.

Author information

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance and School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


People can implicitly learn a connection between linguistic forms and meanings, for example between specific determiners (e.g. this, that...) and the type of nouns to which they apply. Li et al (2013) recently found that transfer of form-meaning connections from a concrete domain (height) to an abstract domain (power) was achieved in a metaphor-consistent way without awareness, showing that unconscious knowledge can be abstract and flexibly deployed. The current study aims to determine whether people transfer knowledge of form-meaning connections not only from a concrete domain to an abstract one, but also vice versa, consistent with metaphor representation being bi-directional. With a similar paradigm as used by Li et al, participants learnt form- meaning connections of different domains (concrete vs. abstract) and then were tested on two kinds of generalizations (same and different domain generalization). As predicted, transfer of form-meaning connections occurred bidirectionally when structural knowledge was unconscious. Moreover, the present study also revealed that more transfer occurred between metaphorically related domains when judgment knowledge was conscious (intuition) rather than unconscious (guess). Conscious and unconscious judgment knowledge may have different functional properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center