We experience the world through the ways in which our bodies are constructed and the ways they interact with the outside world. Before they get around to studying the laws of physics, children develop an experiential and intuitive understanding of concepts such as geometry, balance, gravity, fluid dynamics, projectile physics and momentum. They learn through language acquisition and usage how these and related concepts are extrapolated socially.
Examples of this permeate spoken and written language in all cultures:
He’s just thrown me a curve ball
I’m weighing up both sides of the argument
That’s a weight off my shoulders!
Water under the bridge….
I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus
You can’t get blood out of a stone (English), you can’t pull the hairs from a bald man (Danish)
We use metaphorical language to better describe how we perceive situations and how they make us feel all the time and without thinking about it. It’s a form of shorthand to aid communication, but it doesn’t completely articulate what we truly mean; in fact because the deletion of ‘unnecessary’ information happens intuitively and instantaneously, we’re usually consciously unaware of large elements of that meaning.
As researchers, our role is to find and explore those missing pieces to better understand how people perceive a topic, product or brand at a subconscious level