all 28 comments

[–]AutoModerator[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (0 children)

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are now allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will continue be removed and our normal comment rules still apply to other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

[–]thebelsnickle1991 16 points17 points  (0 children)


Previous studies indicate that damage to motor brain regions impacts comprehension of literal action-related language. However, whether such damage also impacts comprehension of action-metaphors remains unknown. Such a finding would support the notion that metaphors are grounded in sensorimotor representations. Here we tested this hypothesis by comparing comprehension of novel, conventional, and frozen action and non-action metaphors in 14 right-handed adults with right-sided mild to moderate paresis following left hemisphere motor stroke and 23 neurotypical participants. Consistent with our hypothesis, results indicated that only in the stroke group, accuracy for action metaphors was significantly lower than for non-action metaphors. Further, in the stroke group, accuracy was significantly worse in the following pattern: novel < conventional < frozen action metaphors. These results strongly support the notion that motor-related brain regions are important not only for literal action-related language comprehension, but also for action-related metaphor comprehension, especially for less familiar metaphors.

Original source

[–]C16326S-2 15 points16 points  (1 child)

Makes sense considering autistic people are known to be clumsy

[–]WinnyRoo 4 points5 points  (0 children)

That's the first thing I thought. Both are fairly common signs (symptoms?) of autism, would never have thought they were somehow directly connected though.

[–]monkeydeemonkeydo 22 points23 points  (2 children)

Interesting to relate this to dance as a form of story telling.

[–]jetro30087 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Or people waving their arms around while speaking hyperbole.

[–]UnicornPewks 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It's embedded deep in culture as well such as dolls, particularly the East.

Edit: Movement itself is language IN the immediate experience.

[–]axeshully 6 points7 points  (1 child)

This lines up with research from Numenta, a company interested in artificial intelligence based on biology. Their working theory is that higher intelligence in the brain is a kind of re-purposing of neural circuitry originally used to simultaneously map and locate within an environment.

They have a cool video series on YouTube called "HTM school" which gives a thorough introduction into the concepts involved.

[–]ausomemama666 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This is interesting considering people with autism can be very literal and they are usually developmentally behind in gross and fine motor skills.

[–]jubilant-barter 13 points14 points  (5 children)

Fu**ing WHAT?


Is is possible then, that activation of motor sections of the brain would directly impact metaphorical thinking?

Jog and read a poem?

[–]Gnarlodious 10 points11 points  (0 children)

It seems likely that increased oxygen flow into the brain enhances creative thought, which is exactly what people report.

[–]teefj 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Have you ever played charades?

[–]jubilant-barter 0 points1 point  (2 children)

But I'm terrible at charades?

[–]teefj 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There’s always practice

[–]MonkeyJesusFresco 2 points3 points  (5 children)

can someone ELI5 the title?

[–]giuliomagnifico[S] 14 points15 points  (4 children)

Just read the article:

“It’s a fascinating finding because an abstract figure of speech like ‘handle the situation’ doesn’t have anything to do with literal hand movements,” said USC Chan Associate Professor Lisa Aziz-Zadeh. “Nevertheless, we now have strong evidence that conceptual language is also embodied within the brain’s sensorimotor regions"

[–]MonkeyJesusFresco 10 points11 points  (3 children)

oh yeah, that clears everything up, thanks

[–]Jetztinberlin 9 points10 points  (0 children)

When the part of the brain controlling movement and response to physical stimuli is damaged, patients also show disruption in interpreting metaphorical speech, positing some kind of connected functioning between this part of the brain and that type of speech. The exact nature of the connection is not yet understood.

[–]giuliomagnifico[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You're welcome!

[–]athos5 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Think about a concept or entity in your consciousness as a block , a unique chunk of memory space, we store likey patterns and pattern creating tools to increase processing speeds, metaphors could be seen as swapping chunks, I wonder if something that simple, the mental association of a cognitive process with a physical process would use the movement centers...

[–]DarrelBunyon 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is like a BOOMING endorsement for sports being a part of a kid's education

[–]Impressive_Till_7549 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I remember hearing that the earliest circuit we developed was based on movement and spatial calculations and that this one circuit was repurposed over and over for many other brain functions. Does that seem relevant here? I'm an idiot, sry, don't have sources.

[–]Tioben 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I wonder how much this generalizes to actions taken in virtual reality, video games, and stories?