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Br J Psychol. 1990 May;81 ( Pt 2):123-34.

Age, blocking and the tip of the tongue state.

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Age and Cognitive Performance Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK.


This article reports the results of a laboratory study of tip of the tongue (TOT) experiences using a blocking technique (Jones & Langford, 1987). Subjects aged between 52 and 78 years were presented with definitions of rare words and were asked to generate the target word. Following the definition, a potential blocking word was presented which was either phonologically related to the target or not, and either semantically related to the target or not. There were more TOTs when the potential blocking word was phonologically related to the target than when it was not but the effect decreased with increasing age. Furthermore, the mean number of features of the target word reported in the TOT state declined with age. Together these results suggest that the elderly may have particular difficulty in accessing and using phonological information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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