Metaphor as Reality

Hmmm. Don’t know what I think about this, but I guess anything that helps us be better people can’t be bad. New research shows that thinking elevating thoughts or moving up — even through an act as mundane as riding the up escalator — can prompt people to act “pro-socially.”

Miller-McCune reports:

A third experiment suggests the impulse activated by elevation truly was compassion, rather than a morally neutral compulsion to simply do more. A fourth discovered this effect was also found in people who watched video clips of clouds filmed from an airplane window. Compared to others who had viewed video shot from the window of a passenger car, they subsequently were more likely to exhibit cooperative behavior.

“Together, our findings add to the theoretical proposition that once a particular metaphor is activated, whether through embodiment or through priming (as in watching the videos), it may produce metaphor-consistent changes in judgments and behaviors,” the researchers write. “Elevating height may be another route to virtue, leading people to sacrifice their own self-interests.”

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