On 31 October 2023, Dr Hale Ögel-Balaban from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, spoke on the link between comprehension of time metaphors and cognitive flexbility.
In the talk, Dr Ögel-Balaban presented the preliminary findings of a study aimed to examine the link between cognitive flexibility and the comprehension of time metaphors in pre-schoolers. Twelve 3-, 18 4- and 22 5-year-old Turkish-speaking children participated in the Turkish Expressive and Receptive Language Test measuring language proficiency, the day/night task and the dimensional change card sorting task measuring cognitive flexibility, and one metaphor comprehension task adapted from Özçalışkan’s studies (2004, 2005). Metaphor comprehension was measured with forced-choice comprehension and open-ended justification questions following each of 6 stories illustrating conventional or unconventional metaphors with cartoons. Results demonstrated that 5-year-olds’ metaphor comprehension score (calculated as the total number of correct answers to forced-choice comprehension questions) was higher than that of 4-year-olds which was not different from 3-year-olds’ score. No significant correlation was observed between the metaphor comprehension score and the performance on cognitive flexibility tasks. On the other hand, the justification score calculated based on the relevance of children’s answers to the justification questions to the meaning of metaphors was found to correlate positively with the day/night task score. These findings will be discussed in terms of the role of cognitive development in metaphor comprehension.