Dynamic feelings about metaphors for genes: Implications for research and genetic policy

  • Celeste M Condit
Open Access


People respond to metaphors as much with regard to the emotions that they generate as to their referential, comparative contents. Interviews with non-geneticists about preferred metaphors for gene-environment interaction that illustrate this tendency are reported. These interviews also reveal the dynamic tendency of such emotional responses. A second set of interviews shows that lay people may preferentially use a metaphor of "virus" or "disease" for talking about genes, as opposed to the coding metaphors transmitted through the mass media and reportedly preferred by geneticists. An explanation based on the differently situated emotions of these groups is proposed. It is proposed that the prominence of emotions in responding to genetics indicates the importance of incorporating analyses of emotions instead of simple principles into policy formulation about genetics.


Unhealthy Behaviour Source Domain Conceptual Metaphor ESRC Genomic Network Comparative Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Copyright information

© ESRC Genomics Network 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Speech CommunicationUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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