The aim of the study was to follow the implicit patterns in children's responses to metaphor describing human by means of a name of animal. The main problem in present study was: which traits of topic (human) would be spontaneously used by children from three age groups? The study followed a quasi-experimental design. The subjects were 77 children from three age groups: 5;6-6;0, 8;0-8;6, 9;6-10;0. The dependent variable: the level of comprehension of 18 metaphors with vehicles from the animal domain and one topic - human. The variable was measured through individual Piagetian interviews. The study confirmed the hypothesis that the ability to activate metaphorical thinking in order to describe human attributes increases with age, with a turning point around 8 year of life. The traits mentioned by subjects could be classified into five categories: unambiguous evaluations, physical features, behavior, behavioral traits, dispositions (intellectual, emotional, communion) and agency. Older children assigned more human dispositional traits, thoughts and preferences to the objects of metaphors. Younger ones often focused on the physical features of animals. With age, the tendency to give positive evaluations to the objects of metaphors increases.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.