Jodi L. Sandford

You are the Colour of My Life: Impact of the Positivity Bias on Figurativity in English

Are you already subscribed?
Login to check whether this content is already included on your personal or institutional subscription.


The objective of this paper is to clarify what types of embodied linguistic mechanisms are activated when we elaborate figurative speech about COLOUR/SEEING. Embodied theories of "negativity" and "positivity" biases have been posited in relation to language. According to behavioural and evolutionary studies a 'negativity bias' modifies the way humans react and process surrounding events, and has been tested in different realms of cognition, including corpus linguistics. The positivity bias - the Pollyanna hypothesis - affirms that humans tend to talk about the bright side of life. Good "positive" words are more prevalent, more meaningful, more diversely used, and more readily learned than "negative" words. I discuss possible conceptual underpinnings that explain the impact of positivity and negativity biases in processing visual figurativity in linguistic tasks.


  • Negativity Bias
  • Pollyanna Hypothesis
  • COLOUR/SEEING Figurativity


Article first page

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat