Welcome


Born in 2012, and embedded in the International Center for Intercultural Exchange, the Metaphor Geeks Lab constitutes a highly interdisciplinary environment where we discuss, develop, and conduct analyses related to the study of metaphors and their relation with human thinking and mental imagery, with a special attention to the interplay between metaphor and culture.

Today metaphors are widely acknowledged to be a matter of thought (e.g. Lakoff, Johnson 1980; Gibbs 2005) that can be expressed in different modalities, such as words, images, gestures, and music. Widely used for their persuasive and evocative power, metaphors appear in everyday language, literary writing, science, education, political speeches, product marketing, social campaigns, and visual art.

Our vision is to develop interdisciplinary projects and collaborations aimed to achieve a better understanding on the mechanisms and roles played by metaphor in our experience.

Our mission is to apply behavioral and corpus-based methods for developing qualitative and quantitative analyses on metaphor use across languages, media, and cultures.

Get Involved


Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the International Center for Intercultural Exchange who are interested in sharing their competences, proposing new projects and taking part to the activities of the lab are invited to contact the coordinator, and principal investigator, Marianna Bolognesi: marianna(at)metaphorgeeks.com.

Ongoing Projects



  • VisMet: the creation of an annotated online corpus of visual metaphors. (Marianna Bolognesi, Gerard Steen, Romy van den Heerik, Esther van den Berg).

  • The role and the functioning of metaphors in psychotherapy: why do we use metaphors for expressing personal contents (feelings, emotions, past experiences), and how can we interpret their meaning. (Marianna Bolognesi, Roberto Bichisecchi).

  • Visual metaphors vs verbal metaphors: the behavior of source and target domains across databases of texts and databases of annotated images can unravel the nature of the mappings that allow us to interpret a visual or a verbal metaphor (COGVIM, EU sponsored proj awarded to Marianna Bolognesi).

  • Multimodal approaches to metaphor. The current collaboration involves PhD fellow Giorgia Tsouderos and her project about Metaphor in Literature.


Metaphor Geeks is in collaboration with the Metaphor Lab at VU University Amsterdam, coordinated by prof. dr. Gerard Steen.