Figures of speech in the brain: The role of metaphoricity, familiarity, concreteness, and lateralization in language comprehension by Bálint Forgács (Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception (LPP) Université Paris Descartes)
Debates are hot regarding how metaphors are related to literal language, in what steps we understand them, and how our brains deal with them. In my talk I am going to show fMRI and divided visual half field data arguing against a unique role for the right cerebral hemisphere and literal language in metaphor comprehension. If the relevant psycholinguistic factors are controlled for (such as context, emotional valence or imageability) classical left lateralized regions seem to compute not just dead, but even novel metaphors. Moreover, the latter do not seem to evoke the so called electrophysiological concreteness effect either, contrary to the claims of the strong version of embodiment. Based on the new evidence I am going to present a novel model of how the neural systems dedicated to language could compute figures of speech so swiftly and quickly, and why the lateralization debate could be viewed from a different perspective.