Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Levine, William

Committee Member/Reader

Makhanova, Anastasia

Committee Member/Second Reader

Dempsey, Sean

Committee Member/Third Reader

Marren, Susan


Certain literary features of text (metaphor, idiom, etc.) are said to be foregrounded, or stand out from the surrounding text. Prior research (Miall & Kuiken, 1994) demonstrates that foregrounded text slows readers down, which is consistent with attention being grabbed. Do features of literary text, more specifically metaphors, improve memory as a result of being foregrounded? The present study investigated the effect of reading metaphoric phrases on reading time, memory accuracy, and decision times. We predicted that when a textual phrase was read as a metaphor, verbatim memory would be better retained than when that same phrase was read as a literal sentence. Fifty-four undergraduate students completed a measure of print exposure and read target phrases that were presented as either a metaphor or a literal sentence, depending on the prior context. Afterward, participants completed a memory recall task. The results of our analyses generally did not support our hypothesis. Additional research investigating these effects is suggested.


memory, metaphor, foregrounding, language comprehension