Just before Thanksgiving, Slate writer Katy Waldman hadÂ a piece summarizing theÂ growing body of evidenceÂ thatÂ linguistic metaphors reflect how we actually use our brains.
Emory neuroscientist Krish Sathian and his colleagues have been major contributors to thisÂ field (“conceptual metaphor theory”). In 2012, he and Simon LaceyÂ published their brain imaging study, which found thatÂ when peopleÂ listened to sentences involving touch metaphors (“havingÂ a rough day”), the parts of the brain involved in the sense of touch were activated. NPR’s Jon Hamilton talked about these findings with him in 2013.
At the recent Society for Neuroscience meeting, Sathian discussed his team’s ongoing work on how the brain processes metaphors that make references to body parts (head, face, arm, hand, leg, foot), as part of a nano symposium on language.