De rol van semantische afstand in visuele metaforen

Translated title of the contribution: The role of semantic distance in visual metaphors

M. van Mulken, L. Lagerwerf, Iris Blokland

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The role of semantic distance between two juxtaposed objects has not been studied thoroughly in visual perception. Does information processing differ between visual metaphors and semantically close objects (hyponyms), or between visual metaphors and semantically distant objects? Probably, semantic distance causes viewers to identify visual metaphors less fast than hyponyms. On the other hand, they might identify visual metaphors faster than objects with similar semantic distance, but without any ground for comparison (ad hoc group). A first experiment with response latencies for identification of 27 object pairs revealed such a pattern, supported by post hoc comprehension measures. In a second experiment, instruction was changed from identification into appreciation. Response latencies were shorter overall. For the ad hoc group, response latencies were longer than for both hyponyms and visual metaphors. Hyponyms were appreciated more than both other groups. Recall was better for visual metaphors than for the ad hoc group. We conclude that a smaller semantic distance indeed helps to identify and appreciate object pairs. Contrary to our expectation, visual metaphors, with a relatively larger semantic distance and a ground for comparison, were not appreciated most.
Translated title of the contributionThe role of semantic distance in visual metaphors
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalTijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • ad hoc category
  • visual metaphor
  • semantic distance
  • response latencies
  • juxtaposition
  • hyponyms


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