An exploration of the relationship between figurative language interpretation and cognitive abilities
AdvisorClark, C. Brendan
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Figurative language appears to be a viable method for examining one’s abstract reasoning abilities, as it requires one to make interpretations and inferences based on social context and prior knowledge. Deficits in figurative language have been linked to a variety of clinical conditions and a range of negative psychosocial outcomes. However, in clinical practice there are few measures available to evaluate these language abilities, and the few that do exist are rarely utilized. Previous research indicates that idioms, proverbs, and metaphors are types of figurative language that may prove to be clinically useful in assessing not only abstract reasoning abilities, but also a broader range of cognitive functions. As such, these relationships were examined through two studies. The first study assessed figurative language interpretation in a cognitively-healthy young adult population to describe the range of typical interpretations, and to determine which figurative phrases have the best psychometric utility. Study two utilized the test items identified in study one to examine the relationship between figurative language interpretation and cognitive abilities, including abstract reasoning, cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibition.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology