Extended Metaphors are Very Persuasive


Metaphors pervade discussions of critical issues and influence how people reason about these domains. For instance, when crime is a beast, people suggest enforcement-oriented approaches to crime-reduction (e.g., by augmenting the police force); when crime is a virus, on the other hand, people suggest systemic reforms for the affected community. In the current study, we find that extending metaphoric language into the descriptions of policy interventions bolsters the persuasive influence of metaphoric frames for an array of important is- sues. When crime is a beast, people are even more likely to endorse “attacking” the problem with harsh enforcement tac- tics; when crime is a virus people are even more likely to to endorse “treating” the problem through social reform.

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