research questions to provoke further thought on these topics. Beyond those explored in this chapter, other avenues of inquiry exist that may advance the study of visual metaphor, including conceptual metaphors, involvement, and presentation medium. Conceptual metaphors are used by individuals to frame situations and make sense of the world (Kaplan, 1990; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), such as characterizing life as a journey or the human brain as a computer. Conceptual metaphors promote many points of correspondence between the two objects in the metaphor and may even limit one's ability to think beyond the metaphor to new possibilities (MacCormac, 1985). The study of conceptual metaphor appears to have implications for both the creation and interpretation of visual metaphor.
Involvement is another factor that impacts the study of visual metaphor, because it has been shown to have an effect on inference generation (Sawyer & Howard, 1991; Toncar & Munch, 2001) and metaphorical processing (Ottati, Rhoads, & Graesser, 1999). And although almost all studies of visual metaphor in advertising examine print ads, researchers are starting to question whether studies of visual metaphor in film (e.g., Whittock, 1990) could be applied to visual metaphor in TV ads. Space does not permit the exploration of these and other related topics in this chapter.
Researchers are starting to patch together the information needed for a complete understanding of visual metaphor in advertising. Many pieces are still missing. The key to continued discovery is the explicit, systematic breaking down of “metaphor” into meaningful categories such as visual versus verbal modalities, dead versus alive metaphors, and differing forms of visual presentation. Exploration should follow both qualitative and quantitative routes to examine the metaphorical outcomes of interpretation and meaning, elaboration and comprehension, attention and recall, and pleasure and liking. Finally, the broadest possible audience for visual metaphor in advertising will provide the best test of theories, comparing young with old, men with women, and consumers with the creatives who design the ads.