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what happens when a word is on the tip of the tongue

Source: Anne-Laure Le Cunff

According to psychologists Bennett Schwartz and Janet Metcalfe, lethologica may be seen as a meta-cognitive process, which signals a weak recall—in contrast to no recall at all. But when you feel like something is on the tip of your tongue, your mind is telling you: we should know this. If you find yourself repeatedly struggling to recall a specific word, it’s a sign the memory may not be properly stored.

The extra time that people spend trying to dredge up the word is what the researchers describe as incorrect practice time. Instead of learning the correct word, people are learning the mistake itself.

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