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Table 1 Examples of proverbs used throughout the experiments. Each row shares a deep meaning. In Experiment 1, only the left and middle columns were used. In Experiments 2 & 3, all three proverbs were used

From: Comparison versus reminding

Even fools stumble upon insight occasionally.

Blind squirrels can sometimes find an acorn.

A broken clock is right twice a day.

A bad workman blames his tools.

An uncoordinated dancer accuses an uneven floor.

A poor rower points to the oar.

Two captains sink the ship.

Into ruin falls a village with many mayors.

Too many midwives deliver a sickly baby.

Don’t make clothes before the baby is born.

Don’t heat the oil until the fish is on the bank.

It’s not wheat until it’s been harvested.

To eat walnuts, you must crack some shells.

Woodchips must fly when you cut wood.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

The leopard can’t change his spots.

A pig will always oink and never purr.

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

Drops gather one at a time to become an ocean.

Pennies and pennies make pounds and pounds.

Hair by hair the head goes bald.

The fat man thinks no one is hungry.

A liar expects everyone to lie.

If you sit in a hot bath, you believe the whole town is warm.

One key does not open every lock.

No single plant grows in every soil.

One instrument cannot play all the parts.

Beer will quench your thirst if the wine barrels run dry.

If the chair is broken, sit on the footstool.

Cake will satisfy when the pie is gone.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If you do not enter the tiger’s den, you cannot catch its cub.

No sweet without sweat.

It’s too late to cover the well when the child is drowned.

Beating the drum is in vain after the party has ended.

Closing the barn door is pointless once the horse has escaped.

He who has once burnt his mouth will forever blow on his soup.

Bitten by a snake, afraid of the rope for ten years.

A burnt child dreads fire.

As you make your bed, so must you lie in it.

You shall harvest as you plant.

The forest echoes back just as you call into it.

I escaped the thunder but fell into lightning.

Out of the frying pan, but into the fire.

In fleeing the wolf, I ran into the bear.

Good knives cannot be forged from weak steel.

Bad flour does not make good bread.

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

There are no fields without stones.

Honey is sweet, but the bees sting.

If you play with the cat, you must not mind her scratch.

A monkey in silk is a monkey no less.

A book with a fancy cover reads no better.

A broom bound with silk sweeps as well as one bound with string.

There’s no hearth like your own hearth.

Dry bread at home is better than roast meat abroad.

East or west, home is best.

Dip from the well needlessly and it will go dry.

Milk a cow too often and you will draw blood.

Load too much into a bag and it will rip.

The branch that pokes out will be trimmed.

The nail that sticks up will be hammered down.

The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut.

One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.

One bit of rat dung in the soup ruins the pot.

A spoonful of tar wrecks the entire jar of honey.

Different strokes suit different folks.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Trash to one is treasure to another.

He who sits next to a snake begins to slither.

Those who sleep with dogs get fleas.

The friend of a thief becomes a thief.

An empty vessel makes the most noise.

It is not the sheep that baas the most that gives the most wool.

The hen that cackles loudest doesn’t always lay the best eggs.

Even expensive silver will eventually tarnish.

No rose stays red for a hundred days.

All good things must come to an end.

The shoemaker’s children often go barefoot.

The smith’s horse is the worst shod.

The man in town with the worst haircut is the barber.

The strength of the seaman make the captain succeed.

The servant’s toil makes the master look good.

The guts of the soldier make the general great.

Who holds two watermelons in one hand will drop both.

Going after two hares at the same time will allow the hares to escape.

He with too many irons in the fire will ruin them all.

Bigger roosters start to crow later.

Larger pots boil slower.

Greater insights take longer to discover.