The role of vividness of imagery in metaphor generation

Elena Stephan, Daniella Shidlovski, Maya Shanetzki, Karin Agajany, Nira Mashal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pointing to novel links between mental representation and social communication, we examine the association between vividness of imagery and use of metaphors. In a study on individual differences and three experiments, we demonstrate that vivid imagery is linked to greater use of metaphors and that this relationship is bi-directional. We also show that this relationship is stronger in the context of negative valence. We demonstrate that vivid imagery results in greater generation of metaphors (in particular, for negative concepts). In examining the reverse direction of influence, we show that in the negative (rather than positive) context, use of metaphors results in greater perceptions of vividness. We suggest that vividness can be signified and produced by using metaphors that play an important role in meaning making and communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-229
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • mental representation
  • metaphors
  • social communication
  • vividness

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of vividness of imagery in metaphor generation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this