Influence of Category Label and Metaphor on Judgments About Mental Disorder Characteristics
Category labels affect people’s judgments regarding mental disorders which are unknown to them. Descriptions of these ‘unknown’ disorders that do have a name, are assumed by people to be more stable and having reasons to exist, when compared with the same descriptions of disorders - without a specific name . However, it is not clear whether this effect can be evoked by other linguistic parameters, for instance, by metaphors. We hypothesized that including a metaphor in the description of a mental disorder would lead to the same effect even without a category name. We replicated a study by Giffin and colleagues’ and added a new experimental condition in which participants read texts with the descriptions of a person’s unusual behaviour without the disorder's name, but with its metaphoric description. After reading the texts, participants assessed a few statements concerning some characteristics of the disorder. The results showed that the effect of a category label was replicated, and the metaphoric description also evoked a significant effect, but it was found in judgments of different characteristics of the disorder.