On the tip of the tongue: An event-related fMRI study of semantic retrieval failure and cognitive conflict

Anat Maril*, Anthony D. Wagner, Daniel L. Schacter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tip of the tongue (TOT) state refers to a temporary inaccessibility of information that one is sure exists in long-term memory and is on the verge of recovering. Using event-related fMRI, we assessed the neural correlates of this semantic retrieval failure to determine whether the anterior cingulate-lateral prefrontal neural circuit posited to mediate conflict resolution is engaged during metacognitive conflicts that arise during the TOT. Results revealed that, relative to successful retrieval or unsuccessful retrieval not accompanied by a TOT, retrieval failures accompanied by TOTs elicited a selective response in anterior cingulate-prefrontal cortices. During a TOT, cognitive control mechanisms may be recruited in attempts to resolve the conflict and retrieval failure that characterize this state.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)653-660
Number of pages8
JournalNeuron
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the National Institutes of Health (MH60941, AG08441, and DC04466) and P. Newton. We thank B. Schwartz for insightful discussion, M. Hutson for assistance with data collection, and S. Prince, O. Jackson, A. Wiseman, and S. Haham for assistance in stimuli development.

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