ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (5): 584-599.

### Cultural Schema Affect the Spatial Metaphors in the Semantic Processing of Kinship Words: The Evidence from the Han and the Moso

HE Xiumei1,4; ZHANG Xiani2; ZHANG Jijia3; XIAO Erping5; WANG Juan6

1. (1 Center for Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China) (2 Department of Social Work, Guangdong Youth Vocational College, Guangzhou 510507, China) (3 Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China) (4 Department of Education Science, Yunnan Dali College, Dali 671000, China) (5 Department of Education Science, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 310036, China) (6 Department of Education Science, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, China)
• Received:2014-09-26 Published:2015-05-25 Online:2015-05-25
• Contact: ZHANG Jijia, E-mail: Zhangjj1955@163.com

Abstract:

Metaphor is a kind of cognitive style that is pervasive in everyday life. Our ordinary conceptual system is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. Spatial metaphor is the mapping between concepts of space and concept of non-space. Spatial metaphor plays an important role in cognition. By studying a large number of corpuses, researchers found that many abstract concepts are constructed and understood through spatial concepts, such as time, quantity, emotion, and moral etc. The kinship, the initial social relationship of individuals, is formed on the basis of blood relationship and marriage. There are corresponding words to represent kinship in each language, and these words are termed as kinship words. Kinship words contain abundant information about genetics, marriage, sociology and culture. This study aimed to explore whether the kinship words could be represented by more concrete spatial concepts, such as up-down, left-right, and within -outside. Generally speaking, “up” implies the higher authority, stronger and upper social status and more respect, “down” means the lower authority, weaker and lower social status and more care; “left” represents the past, “right” on behalf of the future; “inside” on behalf of one of their own, worthy of trust; “Outside” on behalf of others, should be on guard. In this study, three experiments were adopted to explore the effects of culture schemas on the spatial metaphors in the semantic processing of kinship words. The participants were young people of the Han and the Moso. Kinship word judgment task were introduced to examine the impact of the spatial image schema on the semantic processing of kinship words. In experiment 1, 28 kinship words (14 senior generational kinship words and 14 junior generational kinship words) were used to survey the role of up-down metaphor. In experiment 2, 24 kinship words (12 the elder kinship words and 12 the younger kinship words) were used to inspect the role of left-right metaphor. In experiment 3, 26 kinship words (13 the matriarchal kinship words and 13 the patriarchal kinship words) were used to investigate the role of container metaphor. Results showed that: (1) the concepts of kinship words and space vertical dimension existed implicit contact: the senior generational kinship words corresponds to the space "up" and generational kinship words corresponds to the space "down". The results produced by the Moso and the Han people are similar; (2) to elder or young kinship words which belong to the same generational, there were no left-right metaphor consistency effect in the semantic processing of the Han, whereas there were part of left-right metaphor consistency effect in the semantic processing of the Moso. That is, comparing with kinship words displaying on the left of the screen, the Moso reacted much faster when young words appeared on the right of the screen; (3) "circle" can be used as container metaphor to determine the internal and external relations. There were inside-outside metaphor consistency effect in the Moso’ semantic processing of maternal and paternal kinship words. By contrast, no significant difference occurred when Han people responded to the maternal and paternal kinship words. In sum, results in the present study suggested that space metaphors of kinship words of the Han and the Moso have both generality and uniqueness. There were spatial metaphor consistency effect in the kinship words’ semantic processing of the Han and the Mosuo, but the way of metaphor is influenced by their respective cultural schema and body experience. The changes of cultural schema of the Han and the Mosuo determine the changes of the their relative concept space metaphor.