ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (12): 2052-2063.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.02052

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Cognition or metacognition: The psychological mechanism of tip-of-the-tongue in spoken production

OUYANG Mingkun, CAI Xiao, ZHANG Qingfang()   

  1. Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2019-05-24 Online:2019-12-15 Published:2019-10-21
  • Contact: Qingfang ZHANG


Two research perspectives exist concerning tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) in the field of spoken production, either cognition or metacognition. The perspective of cognition focuses mainly on the process of lexical access, assuming that TOT is the failure to activate or retrieve the information sufficiently. However, the perspective of metacognition focuses mainly on the metacognitive process in spoken production, assuming that it is speakers’ monitoring of the retrievable state of the target words that leads to the occurrence of TOT. The metacognitive process involved in TOT can not only monitor the retrievable state of the target words and the retrieval of relevant information during lexical access, but also exert control over the process of lexical access to make sure that the target words could be successfully retrieved after TOT occurrence. The evidence so far has suggested that cognitive and metacognitive perspectives are dissociative in respects of cognitive mechanism, influencing factors and neural basis. Further studies should investigate the mechanism and neural networks underlying how TOT monitors and controls the cognitive system in retrieving the target words, and address the properties of TOT occurring in Mandarin spoken production and the positive effect of TOT on aging of spoken production.

Key words: TOT, perspective of cognition, perspective of metacognition, heuristic-metacognitive account, dissociative mechanism

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