From Piagetian Theories of Cognitive Development to Conceptual Metaphor: A Study on Persian Children

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Cognitive Linguistics, Institute for Cognitive Science Studies, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Neuropsychology, Iran University of Medial sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Linguistics, Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran, Iran

4 Rehabilitation Research Center, Department of Rehabilitation Management, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 a. Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran b. Department of Psychology, University of California Davis


Introduction: This study extends previous research regarding the metaphoric comprehension of normal children, as well as Piagetian theories of cognitive development. The researchers discuss how the understanding of ontological conceptual metaphors improves through age and cognitive development, and helps to expand children’s thoughts and knowledge from the world.
Method: The current study is a correlational research. The participants of the study were selected by stratified sampling from different kindergarten and elementary schools. A hundred-twenty-one normal native Persian children with no language and cognitive disabilities with the age range of 5 to 13 participated in the study. To achieve the objectives of this study, an Individual Feature Questionnaire, a Raven IQ Test, a Word Recognition Task, a Semantic Features Task, and an Ontological Conceptual Metaphor Test including simple and complex metaphors were used. Finally, descriptive analysis and Pearson correlation were performed.
Results: The results showed that children start to comprehend abstract concepts and primary ontological metaphors at the age of about five. Both boys and girls have performed better in metaphor comprehension as they grow older. Children, younger than six years old, could not comprehend complex types of metaphor but by growing older, they reached this ability.
Conclusion: Children’s metaphorical comprehension improved progressively with age and cognitive development and as the children grew older, they understood more complex types of metaphors.


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