Effects of oral metaphors and allegories on programming problem solving


Metaphors of ordinary concepts are intensively used in computer science for naming abstract concepts and for designing users interfaces. Metaphors are mappings from a source domain (e.g., a stream) to a target domain (e.g., a sequence of bytes). Typically computing phenomena are explained using incoherent discourses at the source domain, formed by metaphors taken from a diversity of origins. Nonetheless, versatility of metaphors allows for the creation of coherent discourses in the origin domain that map the target computing discourse, and we call them allegories. The limited number of existing studies about this topic has compared only textual allegories, visual allegories, and the traditional unconnected metaphors. Although their findings are heterogeneous, equal effectiveness is the most frequent empirical result between these three types of metaphors. Furthermore, we have not found any study about oral allegories, in spite of oral being the most used modality for metaphors in computer science education. This article experimentally compares the effects of oral allegories and oral metaphors on a complex problem‐solving task. As in previous studies, our results did not find any significant differences on support or detriment of oral allegories. Our results support new metaphor theories posing that the context significantly influences the metaphors’ efficacy, and encourages future research about the interaction between context and allegories.

Tipo de publicación: Journal Article

Publicado en: Computer Applications in Engineering Education

  • Hidalgo-Céspedes, Jeisson
  • Marín-Raventós, Gabriela
  • Lara-Villagrán, Vladimir
  • Villalobos-Fernández, Luis

Investigadores del CITIC asociados a la publicación
Jeisson Hidalgo-Céspedes
Gabriela Marín Raventós
Vladimir Lara Villagrán

Proyecto asociado a la publicación
Proyecto sombrilla

Palabras claves
  • allegory
  • experiment
  • metaphor
  • problem solving


Datos bibliográficos
Cita bibliográfica
Effects of oral metaphors and allegories on programming problem solving