Cat Got Your Tongue? Using the Tip-of-the-Tongue State to Investigate Fixed Expressions
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2013
Copyright © 2013 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 37, Issue 8, pages 1553–1564, November/December 2013
How to Cite
Nordmann, E., Cleland, A. A. and Bull, R. (2013), Cat Got Your Tongue? Using the Tip-of-the-Tongue State to Investigate Fixed Expressions. Cognitive Science, 37: 1553–1564. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12060
- Issue published online: 12 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 16 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 6 FEB 2012
- Language production;
- Fixed expressions;
Despite the fact that they play a prominent role in everyday speech, the representation and processing of fixed expressions during language production is poorly understood. Here, we report a study investigating the processes underlying fixed expression production. “Tip-of-the-tongue” (TOT) states were elicited for well-known idioms (e.g., hit the nail on the head) and participants were asked to report any information they could regarding the content of the phrase. Participants were able to correctly report individual words for idioms that they could not produce. In addition, participants produced both figurative (e.g., pretty for easy on the eye) and literal errors (e.g., hammer for hit the nail on the head) when in a TOT state, suggesting that both figurative and literal meanings are active during production. There was no effect of semantic decomposability on overall TOT incidence; however, participants recalled a greater proportion of words for decomposable rather than non-decomposable idioms. This finding suggests there may be differences in how decomposable and non-decomposable idioms are retrieved during production.