The role of nature and nurture in conceptual metaphors: The case of gustatory priming

Michael Gilead, Orian Gal, Marin Polak, Yael Cholow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is unclear whether embodied-cognition effects are caused by the activation of cultural-linguistic metaphors, or whether these metaphors stem from preverbal mechanisms that directly affect both language and behavior. Therefore, we conducted a study wherein 62 Israeli participants ate sweet or spicy snacks and performed a social judgment task. Preverbal mechanisms assign positive hedonic value to sweetness and negative value to spiciness. However, in Israeli culture, "sweetness" is used as a metaphor for inauthenticity, whereas "spiciness"stands for intellectual competence. In accordance with the predictions of a culturally-mediated variant of conceptual-metaphor theory, the results showed that priming participants with spicy (vs. sweet) tastes increased judgments of intellectual competence, decreased judgments of inauthenticity, and increased overall evaluation of a social target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptual metaphor
  • Embodiment
  • Open data
  • Open materials
  • Social judgment
  • Taste


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