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Poster C51

Transient semantic memory retrieval failures: Factors associated with the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

Poster Session C - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

James Christopher Barry1 (, Emilio Ferrer2, Garikoitz Lerma-Usabiaga1, Pedro M. Paz-Alonso1; 1Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, 2Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis

The tip-of-the-tongue (ToT) phenomenon is a transient memory retrieval failure that can affect almost everybody. Since Brown and McNeils (1966) seminal study, ToTs have been examined experimentally through various paradigms and stimuli. However, there is still much that is uncertain regarding what can lead to ToTs. To this end, we sought to examine whether different mnemonic factors (i.e., age of acquisition, frequency of retrieval and recency of last encounter) impact the retrieval of two semantic categories: famous faces and famous places. In total, 80 young adults participated in this study, each of whom completed a self-paced experiment for both the famous faces and famous places. The participants were required to make a judgement on whether they knew the name, were in a ToT state, the image was familiar or if the name was not known. Following the known and ToT judgements, participants completed a recognition stage, as well as questions examining each of the mnemonic factors. For both faces and places, a positive age by known judgement correlation was identified. Furthermore, by computing logistic regressions for each of the mnemonic factors, it was found that later acquired names, a lower frequency of retrieval, and less recently encountered names, all predicted an increase in ToT occurrences. These results demonstrated a similar pattern for both faces and places, with places being stronger predictors for each factor. By examining these factors simultaneously across two different semantic categories, we provide further evidence regarding the factors influencing semantic retrieval failures.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Semantic


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