METAPHOR & How Researchers Found the Images of a “Journey” Best Motivate People

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “In this article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2014, Vol. 106, No. 5, 679-698) researchers found that giving people a mental picture of their task as a ‘journey metaphor’ increase the likelihood of their having success in reaching their goals. In other words metaphors that incorporate the idea of the ‘journey,’ ‘path’ or ‘the way’ make people more motivated, persevere more and become better problem solvers.

It is interesting that 12Stone Church in Atlanta changed their name from Cornerstone Church (a very static metaphor) to the travel metaphor of 12Stone. The 12 stone metaphor was a memorial set up by the tribes of Israel when they crossed the Jordan River. To build on this, the church employes a travel metaphor of “bold crossings” to emphasize the Christian walk. This is a good utilization of the power of the travel metaphor.

The article may be a bit technical, but read the abstract of this journal article for helpful insight into how journey metaphors are most powerful forms of metaphor.”

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