Tip-of-the-tongue States

Phenomenology, Mechanism, and Lexical Retrieval

By Bennett L. Schwartz

© 2001 – Psychology Press

192 pages

Purchasing Options:
New in Paperback: 9780415652834
pub: 2012-08-16
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780805834451
pub: 2001-12-01
US Dollars$65.00

About the Book

Tip-of-the-Tongue experiences are one of those illusive oddities of human cognition. Like slips of the tongue, déjà vu, and visual illusions, TOTs dazzle us with their subjective strength, yet, at the same time, puzzle us with our frustrating inability to retrieve the desired word. This book discusses what little is known about TOTs and speculates about much of the rest of the riddle. Cognitive psychologists know a lot about processes but generally avoid issues of conscious experience and phenomenology. Because the larger goal of this book is to relate the TOT experience to the study of human phenomenology, it goes beyond the conventional cognitive psychology question, "What causes tip-of-the-tongue experiences?" to ask, "Why do we experience TOTs at all?"


"Schwartz helps bring TOT from a curiosity to a desirable topic worthy of scientific study. The book is suitable for reading at any stage of an academic career and would make an excellent supplemental text for a course on memory."

Applied Cognitive Psychology

"The author is interested in both the prevalence and the subjective experience of TOTs in everyday life, and he includes a survey on the universality of TOTs and various monikers for describing them….he summarizes developmental issues with regard to changes in TOTs throughout the lifetime and the impact of neuropsychological damage on TOTs in aphasics and patients with either Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease. Including approximately 200 references, this volume is recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Introduction: What Is a TOT? The Properties of Naturally-Occurring TOTs. Theories of TOT Etiology. TOTs as a Window on Retrieval. Theories of Metacognition. Functional Aspects of the TOT. TOTs, Development, and Neuropsychological Issues. Conclusions and Directions for the Future.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology