Non-literal language

  • Maud CHAMPAGNE-LAVAU (Université d’Aix-Marseille)
    Impact of educational level on metaphor processing in older adults
    2012, Vol. XVII-2, pp. 89-100

    The ability to understand non-literal language is an essential component of daily language use and an impairment of this ability could have an impact on individual social life.  However, very few studies have examined how the educational level affects this ability in older adults. Understanding metaphors, like many other non-literal language processes, produces an apparent need to go beyond what is literally stated in order to apprehend speakers’ communicative intent and, consequently, the meanings of utterances. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of educational level on metaphor understanding in older adults. Older right-handed participants were evaluated using a semantic priming paradigm. The results revealed that the participants’ educational level plays an important part in metaphor processing.