Metaphor comprehension by deaf young adults

Rinat Gold, Osnat Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we compared the processing of both conventional and novel metaphors by deaf versus hearing young adults. Eighteen deaf participants with severe-to-profound hearing loss and 18 controls matched for age, sex, and years of education were presented with word pairs of 4 types (literal, conventional metaphors, novel metaphors, and unrelated word pairs) and were asked to perform a semantic judgment task. The word pairs were presented randomly, 1 word at a time, in the center of a computer screen. The reaction times and accuracy rates were collected. The groups of deaf and hearing participants both showed lower correct responses and longer reaction times for the novel metaphors than for the conventional metaphors. The percentages of correct scores on the semantic judgment task did not differ between the groups. However, the reaction times were significantly longer for the novel metaphors in the group of deaf individuals than in the group of hearing individuals. Thus, deaf young adults show the same pattern of metaphor processing as hearing peers, that is, novel metaphors are more difficult to process compared with conventional metaphors. However, processing of novel metaphors by deaf participants is achieved with more effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-325
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


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