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Does Metaphorix® have any scientific basis?
Metaphorix® is based on findings from the fields of neuroscience and cognitive linguistics.

From neuroscience we know that most of our decisions are based on emotional rather than rational cues, and that a large proportion of our motivations lie below the level of consciousness.

From cognitive linguistics we know that much of our thought is enabled by metaphors. Metaphors are (universal) thought constructs which underpin language and link directly to emotions.

This is why we have developed animations based around Primary Metaphors - they allow people to construe (emotional) meaning and express their feelings without having to rationalise.

Read more in our paper 'Getting animated about emotion - the new frontier'
What are Primary Metaphors?
Primary Metaphors are those which we seem to acquire automatically and become embedded in our unconscious mind.

For example, the subjective experience of affection is typically correlated with the physical experience of warmth when being held in someone's arms as a child. Warmth is not the same as affection, but the two become conflated. In very young children, the experience is undifferentiated (i.e. the subjective and the sensory are not felt to be different). In later life we are able to separate them, but the associations made during conflation persist throughout our lives, so that we continue to talk in terms of a "cold response" or a "warm relationship".

Other examples of Primary Metaphors are Intimacy is Closeness; Happiness is Up

Read more in our paper 'Getting animated about emotion - the new frontier'

Metaphorix® uses primary metaphors to test eight key emotional states: Warmth, Closeness, Excitement, Empathy, Buzz, Energy, Belonging and Inspiration.
In which countries has Metaphorix® been used?
Metaphorix® surveys can be conducted in any country and in any language. Metaphorix® is essentially non-verbal, and the metaphors on which it is based are universal; so it can be used successfully in any culture.

So far we have successfully undertaken surveys in:

Western and Eastern Europe (UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Poland, Russia)
USA and Canada
Central and South America (Mexico, Brazil)
The Far East (Hong Kong, Japan)
Why are Metaphorix® surveys more engaging?
Because the Metaphorix® animations are so engaging, respondents become participants, as is evidenced by:
  • The high percentage of people who say they enjoy taking part in a Metaphorix® survey (i.e. c.60% vs. typically 40% for a conventional online survey)
  • Drop out rates up to 50% lower than for conventional online studies
  • Higher and richer open-ended responses
What is the trade-off, if I choose to include Metaphorix® animations in a survey?
You lose nothing when you do a Metaphorix® survey. We collect rational measures and behavioural data in the same way as always; the insight provided by our metaphor-based questions is in addition to this and serves to complete the picture.
Where can a Metaphorix® survey be conducted?
Metaphorix® surveys are completed online. Consumers mainly access them from their home computers. In countries with low in-home internet access, we may use internet cafes.

Through the use of tablets, we are also able to conduct surveys in halls, in retail outlets etc. And we are able to offer an offline option for computer-assisted web interviewing (CAWI).
Why do you need separate animations for engagement and buzz. Is an engaging idea not by definition going to create buzz?
Just because a person has a strong individual response to an idea (i.e. finds it personally engaging), it doesn't automatically follow that they will want to share that response with others.

The impulse to share only kicks in when people not only have a strong individual response, but also believe that others will have a similarly strong response. It is then that contagion occurs.

So emotional engagement is not the same as social engagement, which is why we have different animations for measuring the two.

Contagion - making sense of a marketing epidemic
Will a Metaphorix survey cost me more?
We do not charge extra for Metaphorix® as it is an integral part of most Conquest online surveys. It is however only available through Conquest.
Want to know more about the theory and ideas behind Metaphorix®?
Contact us to get copies of our podcast and academic papers demonstrating Conquest’s thought leadership in this exciting area. Email:
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