Members in the Media
From: Scientific American

That Tip-Of-The-Tongue Feeling May Be an Illusion

Sometimes you know there’s just the right word for something, but your brain can’t find it. That frustrating feeling is called the tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) state—and for decades psychologists assumed it was caused by a partial recollection of the answer. But new research suggests this experience may be largely an illusion. Being sure you know something doesn’t mean you actually do.

In a series of experiments published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, college students attempted to answer 80 general knowledge questions with one-word answers. If they didn’t provide a correct answer, they were asked if they felt like the answer was on the tip of their tongue and to provide partial information such as its first letter, its number of syllables, or what it sounded like. The team found that people in a TOT state were more likely to volunteer partial information—doing so five times as often in one experiment.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): Scientific American

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