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Article

When Figurative Language Goes off the Rails and under the Bus: Fluid Intelligence, Openness to Experience, and the Production of Poor Metaphors

1
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402, USA
2
Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 140 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16801, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 September 2020 / Revised: 7 December 2020 / Accepted: 29 December 2020 / Published: 5 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligence and Creativity)
The present research examined the varieties of poor metaphors to gain insight into the cognitive processes involved in generating creative ones. Drawing upon data from two published studies as well as a new sample, adults’ open-ended responses to different metaphor prompts were categorized. Poor metaphors fell into two broad clusters. Non-metaphors—responses that failed to meet the basic task requirements—consisted of “adjective slips” (describing the topic adjectivally instead of figuratively), “wayward attributes” (attributing the wrong property to the topic), and “off-topic idioms” (describing the wrong topic). Bad metaphors—real metaphors that were unanimously judged as uncreative—consisted of “exemplary exemplars” (vehicles that lacked semantic distance and thus seemed trite) and “retrieved clichés” (pulling a dead metaphor from memory). Overall, people higher in fluid intelligence (Gf) were more likely to generate a real metaphor, and their metaphor was less likely to be a bad one. People higher in Openness to Experience, in contrast, were more likely to generate real metaphors but not more or less likely to generate bad ones. Scraping the bottom of the response barrel suggests that creative metaphor production is a particularly complex form of creative thought. View Full-Text
Keywords: metaphor; creativity; figurative language; fluid intelligence; openness to experience metaphor; creativity; figurative language; fluid intelligence; openness to experience
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MDPI and ACS Style

Silvia, P.J.; Beaty, R.E. When Figurative Language Goes off the Rails and under the Bus: Fluid Intelligence, Openness to Experience, and the Production of Poor Metaphors. J. Intell. 2021, 9, 2. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jintelligence9010002

AMA Style

Silvia PJ, Beaty RE. When Figurative Language Goes off the Rails and under the Bus: Fluid Intelligence, Openness to Experience, and the Production of Poor Metaphors. Journal of Intelligence. 2021; 9(1):2. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jintelligence9010002

Chicago/Turabian Style

Silvia, Paul J., and Roger E. Beaty 2021. "When Figurative Language Goes off the Rails and under the Bus: Fluid Intelligence, Openness to Experience, and the Production of Poor Metaphors" Journal of Intelligence 9, no. 1: 2. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jintelligence9010002

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