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Participants. Fifty-four volunteers served as participants. They were all native speakers of Hebrew, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences graduates and undergraduates of Tel Aviv University, aged 18-32.

Materials. Materials were the items rated for degree of metaphorical familiarity in the pretest (reported above). They were embedded at the end of a context biasing each of them either toward the literal or toward the metaphorical interpretation. They, thus, made up a set of 72 items (see Giora and Fein 1999a). In terms of familiarity, they formed 2 groups. The familiar items consisted of 16

familiar metaphors (7a) and their 16 literal alternatives (7b); the set of unfamiliar items consisted of 20 metaphors (8a) and their 20 literal alternatives (8b):

(7) a. In order to solve the math problem, the student broke her head

[equivalent to the English racked her brains].

b. Because she was so careless when she jumped into the pool, the student broke her head.

(8) a. Mary: My husband is terribly annoyed by his new boss. Every day he

comes home after work even more depressed than he has been the day before. Somehow, he cannot adjust himself to the new situation. Billie: Their bone density is not like ours. b. Our granny had a fracture from just falling off a chair and was rushed to the hospital. I told my sister I never had fractions falling off a chair. She explained to me about the elderly. She said: Their bone density is not like ours.

Two different booklets were prepared, each containing 36 items so that subjects saw only one version of the contextual bias of the target sentences. Only one text appeared on each page.

Procedure. Participants were each presented a booklet and were asked to rate the extent to which the last (target) sentence of each text coheres with prior context on a 7 point coherence scale (1 = incoherent; 7 = highly coherent).

 
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