Scientific article
Open access

The size of shame and pride

Published inReview of cognitive linguistics, vol. 20, no. 1, p. 210-230
Publication date2022-05-24
First online date2022-05-24


We investigate the figurative size ( big or small ) that more naturally fits the conceptual representation of the moral emotion concepts pride and shame . We hypothesize the pairings pride-big and shame-small to be more natural than their counterparts, because of the emotions’ expressive profile: pride’s expanded body posture makes us look big, while shame’s shrunk body posture makes us look small. These effects are part of the folk model of pride and shame observed in language and the mapping can be best described as metonymic. An Implicit Association Test is used to investigate the existence of these conceptual pairings in Spanish. Faster reaction times and fewer errors were observed for metonymy-congruent compared to incongruent pairs. These results provide the first empirical evidence of a cognitive association coherent with our hypothesized metonymic link and constitute an empirical psycholinguistic contribution to the study of conceptual metonymy.

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Citation (ISO format)
SORIANO, Cristina, VALENZUELA, Javier. The size of shame and pride. In: Review of cognitive linguistics, 2022, vol. 20, n° 1, p. 210–230. doi: 10.1075/rcl.00108.sor
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1877-9751

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