Since the mid 1990s, Fauconnier and Turner’s Conceptual Integration Theory (CIT), or Blending Theory, has developed a network model of meaning construction, consisting of interconnected conceptual packages, or mental spaces, and including projection to a hybrid conceptualization or blended space. The model has been widely used for the study of conceptual mappings, selective projection, mental simulation, and other cognitive operations, within a variety of fields: cognitive science, semantics, pragmatics, semiotics, literary studies, etc. The higher order cognitive capacity of conceptual integration underlies a variety of phenomena in meaning construction: metaphor, metonymy, analogy, counterfactuals, multimodal symbols, etc.
In particular, CIT has produced extensive work on figurative language, and has proposed a revision of the methods employed in metaphor research, to account for emergent meanings, frame shifts and other changes in the directionality of mappings, diachronic and cultural factors, etc. We are interested in how the CIT model can inform specific programs of empirical research in figurative language in a variety of disciplines, from literary studies to psycholinguistics.