Emotion is the predominant target domain in the film; the audience instinctively analyzes the five personified emotions metaphorically and designates them as a specific source domain to understand the broad concept of emotion. The most obvious metaphor utilized in the film is emotions are people. The directors personify Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust and treat these emotions as miniature people living inside Riley’s brain. This allows the audience to relate to the emotions and understand the distinct and separate roles each emotion has in the brain. Relations such as these are especially important because the target audience, young children, does not understand neuroscience but have experienced all five of these emotions in their lives; this grounding allows even toddlers to comprehend basic neurological concepts. By analyzing each emotion character individually, one can identify specific physical attributes of the characters and examine them metaphorically. A common source domain us...
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...prefrontal cortex is headquarters and neurons are transportation tubes allow children to comprehend basic neurological anatomy, a topic that is most likely extremely new to them.
Actions that take place in the mind, such as thoughts, memories, dreams, and emotions, are too abstract to interpret without metaphor. Because the brain is too complex to study in its entirety, society relies on metaphors to understand the operations performed in the brain. The writers of Inside Out utilize several universal metaphors and metonymies commonly used to describe neurological functions, as well as develop new and creative metaphors that appeal to children based on their limited experience. This allows the audience to comprehend basic brain functions by associating complex concepts with intrinsic and experiential groundings, despite a lack of background knowledge in neuroscience.
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