CiteWeb id: 19660000100

CiteWeb score: 1356

DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5371(66)80040-3

The "tip of the tongue" (TOT) phenomenon is a state in which one cannot quite recall a familiar word but can recall words of similar form and meaning. Several hundred such states were precipitated by reading to Ss the definitions of English words of low frequency and asking them to try to recall the words. It was demonstrated that while in the TOT state, and before recall occurred, Ss had knowledge of some of the letters in the missing word, the number of syllables in it, and the location of the primary stress. The nearer S was to successful recall the more accurate the information he possessed. The recall of parts of words and attributes of Words is termed "generic recall." The interpretation offered for generic recall involves the assumption that users of a language possess the mental equivalent of a dictionary. The features that figure in generic recall may be entered in the dictionary sooner than other features and so, perhaps, are wired into a more elaborate associative network. These more easily retrieved features of lowfrequency words may be the features to which we chiefly attend in word-perception. "lnae features favored by attention, especially the beginnings and endings of words, appear to carry more information than the features that are not favored, in particular the middles of words. William James wrote, in 1893: "Suppose