Source-target mapping strategy in displaced communication: Communication strategy to represent absent objects


Displacement, which is to express absent objects, is one of the important design features of human language. It has not been well considered in the context of communication. We conducted a graphical communication experiment to investigate displacement in communication. In this experiment, two adults are paired, and a sender drew an absent object expressed by an unconventional combination of two words, adjective and noun, while a receiver answered what the drawing represented. This process was repeated 8 times for one object in each pair. The senders usually drew two pictures corresponding to two words, respectively. The analysis of results indicated that nouns should be understood in advance for understanding adjectives which are difficult to represent by drawings. This suggested that in displaced communication source-target mapping strategy was used to compose expressions like metaphors, and that identifying which expression represents a target was important in order to understand absent objects.

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