“Baker’s dozen” on the theme of Conceptual Blending

Blended Classic Joint Attention

Communication that happens when a new, unrelated element is joined to the shared focus of two or more people. For example, television viewers recruit scenes of classic joint attention to respond to an announcer’s invitation “here” to experience the excitement of a rebroadcast race that they did not attend in person. See also Classic Joint Attention.

Blended Space (also: Blend)

A mental space into which corresponding elements of two or more input spaces are projected, and which generates a new or emergent structure. (see Conceptual Blending)

Classic Joint Attention

Communication that happens when one person directs another to a shared focus on something perceptible to both. For example, one spectator directs the focus of another by pointing out the emerging victor in a running event. See also Blended Classic Joint Attention.

Cognitive Domain

In conceptual metaphor theory, a cognitive domain is a representation of a coherent aspect of experience. For example, we coherently organize knowledge about domains like WAR and LOVE from our prior experience. The conceptual domain WAR may include representations such as a soldier, a battle, injury, surrender, victory; and a conceptual domain of LOVE may include representations of a lover, romantic pursuit, intimacy, compassion, and commitment. A conceptual metaphor maps one conceptual domain onto another.

Cognitive Model

A stable structure that forms in the mind when we recognize patterns upon repeatedly encountering events, concepts, or persons in similar situations. This mental structure is thus based on prior knowledge and experience and acts as blueprint for organizing knowledge so that we can reason and make sense of new experience.


Basic cognitive ability by which we recognize patterns as we process new information and merge those patterns into one manageable mental structure. Compression of information facilitates comprehension and comparison with other mental structures. An example of compression is the telescoping of events into a single phrase, for example, “the war” or “the wedding.”

Conceptual Blending (also: Conceptual Integration)

A basic cognitive operation in which we integrate elements of two or more mental structures (input spaces) into a blended space to generate a new or emergent structure that is more than the sum of its parts. For example, the metaphor “ARGUMENT IS A WAR” conveys meaning involving debaters as fighters, not present in the two input spaces alone (“ARGUMENT” and “WAR”). A basic integration network has four kinds of mental spaces: a generic space that enables cross-space mapping, two input spaces, and a blended space:

Conceptual Metaphor

Conceptual metaphor theory recognizes that metaphor is not only a feature of language, but also a basic feature of the way we think. A conceptual metaphor is a mental structure organized when we project representations from one conceptual domain (source) onto corresponding representations in another, distinct conceptual domain (target). For example, “LOVE IS A JOURNEY” and “LOVE IS WAR” map “love” onto two different conceptual domains, affording two different cognitive models of love.

Conceptual Metonymy

Process mapping one thing onto another in a single domain (single-domain mapping). For example: “The White House refused comment”; or, “Lend me a hand.”. Compare with conceptual metaphor.


From the Greek word for “pointing,” refers to the use of language (like personal pronouns and terms of time and f space (e.g., now, then; here, there) to “point to” a speaker or writer’s context (time, place, situation). Proximal language conveys nearness (e.g., now, here), and distal language conveys distance (e.g., then, there). For example, the Gospel of Mark often uses deictic term euthys (immediately) to indicate temporal connections.

Emergent Structure

Combines elements of input spaces to produce a new entity or conceptual structure. This new structure is not a property of any input space that contributes to it. For example, the surgeon is a butcher evaluates the surgeon negatively, though this is not a essential characteristic of “surgeon” or “butcher.”

Emphasis (also: significatio)

"Emphasis" (Greek: emphásis; Latin: significatio) is an ancient rhetorical figure that emphasizes audience participation by "an exaggeration or by an ambiguity" (Rhet. Her. 4.53.67). While Quintilian does note that “also in everyday phrases emphasis is found" (Quintilian, Inst. 8.3.86), skilled writers or speakers may use this device deliberately to alert the audience to a hidden meaning. For example, when Jesus commands a demon to "shut the muzzle" (Mark 1:25), the term phimōthēti is not entirely inappropriate, but rather refers to muzzling an animal. The reader may recall here the wild beasts in the company of Satan mentioned just before in the context of Jesus’ temptation. For more details and various narrative or rhetorical techniques of emphasis, see Mike Whitenton’s “Emphasis. A Cognitive Figure in Ancient Rhetoric.”


The term focalization, once coined by the French structuralist Gérard Genette ([1972] 1980), describes the way the narrator carves out the inner world of each character. In external focalization, the narrator does not convey information about the characters’ feelings, knowledge, motivation, etc., but describes only externally observable facts. Internal focalization, by contrast, means that readers learn all sorts of details about a character’s inner life. When the narrator provides insight into all characters equally, the narrative employs zero focalization. Otherwise, the narrative is focused on a particular character. However, focalization may also prove to be variable, i.e., a character may be externally focalized at one point, but internally focalized at another. Only a cognitive science approach that perceives characters as mental models makes it understandable why readers can recognize and comprehend corresponding differences and dynamics in the reading process.

Frames and Scripts

Schemata are often classified into static "frames" and dynamic "scripts" (cf. e.g. Herman 1997: 1047). Thus, Frames denote a prototypical idea of a bird, a chair, a New Yorker or a Swabian. When mentioned in the text, these ideas are called up. Frames are strongly culture-dependent. For example, a North American may not know the connotation of a "Swabian" (while most Germans inevitably think of a stingy, know-it-all, stuffy person). Scripts, by contrast, describe the reader’s procedural knowledge, i.e. what events await us in a certain situation (situational script, e.g. in a restaurant) or how to do something (instrumental script, e.g. driving a car). In addition, we expect a person with certain character traits to behave in a certain way in certain situations (personal script, e.g. a bull in a china shop). Scripts help explain why readers can anticipate a story and experience suspense and humor while reading.

Generic Space

A mental space that provides information common to all the input spaces. Elements of the generic space afford the recognition of counterparts in each of the input spaces.

Idealized Cognitive Model (ICM)

Cognitive representation that we construct to organize knowledge for categorization and reasoning. It is idealized because it integrates elements across a range of experiences into a single conceptual structure, rather than representing a specific experience. For example, to imagine a “bird,” a Westerner will likely picture a robin or a sparrow. These prototypical examples form the basis of ICMs, which are less particular because they integrate prior experience. If you have ever heard a robin or a sparrow sing, you may also imagine that song. You may even imagine a certain setting based on your experience (a nest, a branch, the sky, a backyard feeder). Then, you will compare, evaluate, and recognize other instances of “bird” as extensions of this ICM.

Input Spaces

Mental spaces that derive their elements from the source and target domains.

Mental Space

A unique and temporary conceptual structure, or “packet” of information, that we construct “online” as we think and speak. We construct mental spaces by recruiting information from the immediate situation and from knowledge we hold in long-term memory. We relate mental spaces to each other to reason and make sense of the world around us. Mental spaces form the basis of conceptual blending.


Cognitive operation in which properties of one cognitive domain are mapped onto another.

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