SURF

Zoe Carwin

Can Preschoolers Learn from Metaphors?

Can preschoolers learn from metaphors? While many studies have shown that adults use metaphors to guide their thinking and reasoning, the question of whether young children can do the same remains unexplored. We use metaphors in our everyday lives (e.g. “Tourists flooded the popular beach town over break” or “A second wave of the virus is expected to hit after the holidays due to travel”), and they help us reason about abstract concepts (e.g. “I was surprised when she attacked my claim but I regrouped and defended my idea with even stronger evidence”). Over the course of this summer, my mentor Rebecca and I will collect data from young preschool-age children to investigate their understanding and use of metaphorical language. Though previous metaphor research has primarily focused on adult subjects, we hope to extend this research to younger ages, and discover whether preschoolers can also use metaphors to learn.

Message to Sponsor

To the Johnson fund: thank you for giving me the opportunity to conduct research as part of the SURF SMART program. I’m so excited to dive into my project with my mentor, and your funding means I can do this without the added stress of financing my summer. I am truly grateful for your generosity.
  • Major: Cognitive Science
  • Sponsor: Johnson Fund
  • Mentor: Rebecca Zhu