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Metaphorically feeling: Comprehending textural metaphors activates somatosensory cortex

  • Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Fmri
  • Parietal Operculum
  • Grounded Cognition
  • Tactile


Conceptual metaphor theory suggests that knowledge is structured around metaphorical mappings derived from physical experience. Segregated processing of object properties in sensory cortex allows testing of the hypothesis that metaphor processing recruits activity in domain-specific sensory cortex. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we show that texture-selective somatosensory cortex in the parietal operculum is activated when processing sentences containing textural metaphors, compared to literal sentences matched for meaning. This finding supports the idea that comprehension of metaphors is perceptually grounded.

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