Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Tip-of-the-Tongue (TOT) phenomenon

I had found an interesting article on the web about a phenomenon that is undoubtedly familiar to all of us-- the Tip-of-the-Tongue phenomenon, which, in other words, is the "blocking" that we experience in the brain when trying to recall specific things throughout our day, such as the name of the actor in the movie previously shown, or the name of the food you had wanted for dinner. Why do we tend to forget such things in which we would normally be able to recall at the snap of a finger?

While the article did not mention specifically why it is we experience this, it did provide insight to those who suffer from a condition called synaesthesia. Individuals who experience this are able to hear colors, smell words, and even taste sound, in a literal and almost psychedelic sense due to the different "cross-wiring" of the neurons in the brain responsible for interpreting senses. A study conducted on those who suffer from this and who also experience the Tip-of-the-Tongue phenomenon found that those who could "taste words" were better able to recall the names and things of those lost in the mind. A student, who was trying to recall the word "castanet," was successfully able to by turning that into a literal taste of tuna. This was accomplished by showing the student a picture of a platypus; the visual stimuli of this triggered the student to perceive the taste of a tuna, thus making him able to retrieve the once-forgotten word of "castanet."
I chose this article as a post because it instantly stuck out to me; I had never heard of the Tip-of-the-Tongue phenomenon prior to my reading of it, and I wanted to know how those with synaesthesia could be controlled, over their normal counterparts, to regain the name, idea, or thought that was once lost in the vast sea that is the brain. If anyone is interested in seeing the article, it can be found here:


  1. This post was very interesting because i think everyone has experienced the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. It is frustrating and hard to understand why it happens. I also thought it was interesting when the article discussed the condition synaesthesia. I always knew that the five senses were connected, but not in the same way that those with synaesthesia experience. It could be helpful, however, it overcoming the issue of the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon.