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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2020, Vol. 52 Issue (4) : 426-439     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00426
Reports of Empirical Studies |
The depth of conceptual processing affects the metaphorical connection between moral concepts and horizontal orientation
WANG Congxing,MA Jianping,DENG Jue,YANG Zhongwang,YE Yiduo()
School of Psychology, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350000, China
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Abstract  

The conceptual mapping perspective places metaphor within the framework of embodied cognition. Conceptual Metaphor Theory holds that individuals cannot directly understand the meaning of abstract concepts which are constructed by perceptions of bodily experiences. Thus, moral concepts are acquired through physical experience. Previous studies on the orientational metaphor of moral concepts have found that there is a psychological reality for the metaphorical connection between moral concepts and vertical orientation. However, there are few studies on the metaphorical connection between moral concepts and left-right horizontal orientation. In this study, undergraduate and postgraduate students were selected to examine the metaphorical connection between moral concepts and horizontal orientation and its influence on the depth of conceptual processing through six experiments.

Experiments were performed in E-prime 2.0. In experiment 1, participants used a forced-choice task to place Chinese moral words on the left or right side of a cartoon person, in order to explore the metaphorical connection between moral concepts and horizontal orientation in the mind. During experiment 2, the Stroop paradigm was adopted and participants read words aloud and made moral judgments about words appearing on the left or right side of the screen. The aim was to explore the metaphorical connection between Chinese moral concepts and the horizontal orientation at high levels of conceptual processing. Experiment 3 utilized the same paradigm as experiment 2, but participants did not read words aloud in order to explore the metaphorical connection at medium levels of conceptual processing. Experiment 4 used the same paradigm as experiment 2. Participants judged the truth or falsehood of words rather than moral judgments in order to explore the metaphorical connection at low levels of conceptual processing. In experiment 5, a priming paradigm was adopted to explore the mapping of the target domain to the source domain at low levels of conceptual processing. A visual cue was shown on the left or right side of the screen. Then a word appeared in the position of the visual cue and participants judged whether it was true or false. In experiment 6, a priming paradigm was adopted to explore the mapping from the source domain to the target domain at low levels of conceptual processing. A word was presented on the screen and participants judged its truth and falsehood. Then participants classified and judged the letters “p” or “q, ” which were presented on the left or right side of the screen.

In experiment 1, we registered participants who placed moral and immoral words on the left or right side of the figure. Chi-square test was used to analyze data. Results showed that the number of moral words placed on the left side of the figure was significantly higher than that of words placed on the right side. Regarding immoral words, results were the opposite. In experiments 2, 3, and 4, we collected the reaction time of participants regarding lexical judgment, and repeated ANOVAs were used to analyze data. Results of experiments 2 and 3 revealed a significant Stroop effect. That is, when moral words were presented on the left side, reaction time significantly decreased. However, experiment 4 did not show this effect. In experiment 5, reaction time of participants in the judgment task was recorded. Experiment 5 utilized the same method to analyze data as experiment 4. The effect of spatial priming on moral words was not found in experiment 5. In experiment 6, reaction time of participants in the judgment of letter classification was recorded. Data from experiment 6 was also processed in the same way as experiment 4. Effects of moral priming on the categorization of letters were not found.

In conclusion, results from the six studies suggest that the psychological reality of morality is oriented to the left and immorality to the right. This metaphorical connection is affected by the depth of conceptual processing.

Keywords moral      metaphor      horizontal orientation      mapping      the depth of conceptual processing     
:  B842  
Corresponding Authors: Yiduo YE     E-mail: yeyiduo@163.com
Issue Date: 25 February 2020
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WANG Congxing,MA Jianping,DENG Jue,YANG Zhongwang,YE Yiduo. The depth of conceptual processing affects the metaphorical connection between moral concepts and horizontal orientation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2020, 52(4): 426-439.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00426     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2020/V52/I4/426
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