Psycholinguistic Aspects of the Internet Memes’ Visual Components

Keywords: visual component, verbal component, Internet memes, emotional and mental impact.


The aim of the article is to describe mechanism of the influence of the Internet memes’ visual components upon consciousness; to analyze functional and semantic relationships between visual and verbal components; to research role models (character types) of the internauts who are the creators of Internet memes with wolf as a visual component; emotional states created by Internet memes.

Psycholinguistic research methods have helped to achieve this goal, namely, discourse analysis, the method of contextual and intuitive logical interpretation analysis, content analysis.

Discussion & Results. Internet meme creators achieve communicative purpose by means of the wolf image due to the use of ramified conscious and unconscious associative links. The correspondence of the meaning originally put by the author in the Internet meme with its comprehension by the addressee occurs through the use of anchoring techniques which mechanism of impact is based on linking human states to certain patterns of behavior. “Anchors” usually work automatically therefore the emotional state of a person changes positively or negatively without the possibility of its regulation by the addressee. With the help of visual images Internet memes create a model world of emotions. The ultimate goal of such polycode messages is mental effect on consciousness through the method of psychological infection. As soon as an addressee’s emotional mood to be in a ready state to apprehend the message the meanings of the visual image which may be expressed explicitly or implicitly are developed in the verbal corpus of an Internet meme. In this study the Internet memes’ verbal components were divided into thematic groups (TG) describing the internauts’ emotional states. Based on the analysis of the TG it is possible to describe the role model of the Internet meme creator manifested in the features of communicative behavior. The analysis of the TG has proved that in the verbal component the internauts intend to position the background of their mental world with the corresponding emotional tone. It should be noted that verbal and visual components do not compete but complement each other, enrich the Internet meme with new meanings accumulating cultural and emotional-evaluative meanings, social stereotypes of consciousness.

Conclusion. The function of the visual component is to form a special emotional tone of the information, to provide a holistic and at the same time flexible understanding of a particular message due to placing semantic accents allowing the recipient to specify the perception and interpretation of the verbal component. The link between the visual and verbal parts of Internet memes is implicit. The information presented in the visual component is based on various associative links therefore; its interpretation requires careful correlation between both components, identification of internal structural and semantic links.


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How to Cite
Khraban , T. (2019). Psycholinguistic Aspects of the Internet Memes’ Visual Components. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 26(2), 341-357.