Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Lisa Archibald


A Tip-of-the-Tongue (TOT) occurs when you are trying to think of a specific word but lack the ability to bring it to mind. The present study examined implicit learning processes operating under errorful (20-second delay) or errorless (0-second delay) learning conditions in TOT states. Participants included 15 young (20-30 years) and 15 old (65-88 years) adults who were tested twice a week for four weeks on a definition-word pair task. For young participants, results indicated that a TOT was more likely and older participants were more likely to indicate they did not know the word on a consecutive session after a 0-second delay. Over multiple sessions, older participants were more likely to resolve after persisting in a TOT state for 20-seconds. Results are inconsistent with the view that the longer people spend practicing an incorrect pathway, the more likely they are to experience a TOT on the next session. Rather, the findings suggest that remaining in a TOT state and purposefully searching for the word may facilitate word finding, at least in the short term.