An event-related potentials study of face identification and naming: The tip-of-the-tongue state

Authors

  • Fernando Díaz,

    1. Laboratorio de Psicofisioloxía e Neurociencia Cognitiva, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain
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  • Mónica Lindín,

    1. Laboratorio de Psicofisioloxía e Neurociencia Cognitiva, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain
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  • Santiago Galdo-Alvarez,

    1. Laboratorio de Psicofisioloxía e Neurociencia Cognitiva, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain
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  • David Facal,

    1. Departamento de Psicoloxía Evolutiva e da Educación, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain
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  • Onésimo Juncos-Rabadán

    1. Departamento de Psicoloxía Evolutiva e da Educación, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain
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  • We thank Dr. Luis García-Larrea for his helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript. We also thank the Associate Editor Dr. Natalie Phillips, the reviewer Dr. Stefan R. Schweinberger, and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments and suggestions for improving the manuscript. This work was supported by Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (BSO2002-03122 and BSO2001-3112) and Secretaría Xeral de Investigación e Desenvolvemento, Xunta de Galicia (PGIDT01PXI21103PR).

Address reprint requests to: Fernando Díaz, Facultade de Psicoloxía, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Galiza, Spain. E-mail: pcpbdiaz@usc.es.

Abstract

With the aim of identifying event-related potential (ERP) correlates of the tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) state, we employed a task involving identification and naming of the faces of famous people with three response categories: KNOW (correct naming), DON'T KNOW (name not known), and TOT. Before 450 ms, no differences are observed between TOT and KNOW conditions in ERPs related to face processing and recognition. The smaller mean amplitude in TOT than in KNOW responses over the 550–750-ms interval and the N-TOT difference wave are correlates of the onset of the TOT state, probably reflecting a division of processing resources and low activation of the lexical–phonological route. The smaller amplitude of a late negative wave (between 1350 and 1550 ms) in TOT than in DON'T KNOW responses, and the P-TOT difference wave, seem to indicate that an important amount of processing resources is engaged in resolving the TOT.

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