Metaphors in the news : the effects of metaphor usage in measuring recall and retention of information within a news story

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Gebken, Lisa M.
Popovich, Mark N.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Journalism
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This study has designed to test whether or not the use of metaphors affects audience recall and retention of news. The study is designed to test the hypotheses that metaphors help the reader recall a greater amount of information immediately after exposure (i.e., short-term memory, identified in this study as recall), and that metaphors aid in a greater amount of information retained at a later date (i.e., long-term memory, identified in this study as retention). Recall and retention help demonstrate whether or not metaphors promote reader understanding and remembering of facts in news stories better than in stories that do not use metaphors or images.The methodology of this study consisted of two tests in which subjects answered open-ended questions to see if the presence of metaphors aided in retention and recall of information. Two versions of a newspaper story with identical news were presented. The metaphor story contained one primary metaphorical image which ran continuously throughout the story. The nonmetaphor story featured no manipulation by the researcher. The first test measured the amount of information recalled immediately after exposure to a given story. The second test took place five days after the initial exposure.Using a MANOVA repeated measures design, the researcher found a difference between the metaphor and nonmetaphor variables and significant difference between the recall and retention variables, but no interaction between all of the independent variables. Therefore, this study did not support the hypothesis that news stories with metaphors aid in both recall (short-term memory) and retention (long-term memory) of information.