Amount of Instruction and Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon

4555 words (18 pages) Essay

11th Sep 2017 Psychology Reference this

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Abstract

Tip-of-the-tongue or TOT occurs naturally as an unsuccessful attempt to recall a specific memory and is described as a temporary memory block (Brown & McNeill, 1966). For this study, it was believed that participants exposed to popular television sitcom photographs after being given detailed instructions would be better equipped to combat TOT states compared to the participants given minimal instruction. This study aimed to overcome and explore whether TOT could be manipulated amongst participants in relation to amount of instructions. The study involved 206 participants, half were male and other half were female. The study was an in-between subject design and utilized two sample t-test. The first t-test was performed for correct responses while the second was for TOT occurrences. It was concluded that there was not a significant difference between minimal and detailed instructions for total TOT occurrences, meaning that amount of instruction did not hinder TOT rates. Further study will be required to determine how the different organizations affect TOT such studies should be proficient enough to explain the purpose of TOTs.

Amount of Instruction and Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon

Tip-of-the-tongue or TOT is a universally experienced phenomenon. It is common amongst many cultures, though its underlying purpose is yet to be identified (Brennen, Vikan, & Dybdahl, 2007). TOT occurs spontaneously as an unsuccessful attempt to recall a specific memory and is described as a temporary memory block (Brown & McNeill, 1966). Even with modern technology, the scientific community has yet to give a definite answer to what causes TOT. However, if research continues and further builds upon past research of TOT, the closer science will get to offering simple answers to the phenomenon.

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Cues serve as signals with information about the current environment (Kalafut & Church, 2017). The types of cues that have been studied with TOT are semantic, auditory, and visual (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011). Semantic cues are additional information or clues working-memory extracts concerning the target word without recalling the actual word (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011). For example, a semantic cue is a definition of a word without the words occurrence. Auditory cues are triggered by sound while visual cues are triggered using the eyes, both cues enable the individual to gather information (Riefer, 2002). All three forms of stimuli have the potential to trigger a TOT experience (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011).

Currently, there are two contending theories that aid in understanding TOT, direct-access view and inferential view. The direct-access theory states that the targeted memory is not fully embedded in the memory for instant recall, but may be just enough to cause TOT (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011). Inferential view theory states that working-memory is activated when fusing relative pieces of information together, to reach a specific word (Schwartz, 1998). The direct-access view is supported by blocking hypothesis, the incomplete activation hypothesis, and the transmission deficit model (Schwartz, 1999). The inferential view of TOT is supported by cue-familiarity and accessibility heuristic theory (Schwartz, 1999).

The direct-access view is supported by three hypotheses. First, the blocking hypothesis explains TOTs as occurrences prompted by the sufferer as they recall words similar to the targeted word and are cognizant of being incorrect (Jones, 1989). For example, attempting to remember the correct lyric to a song could trigger TOT causing the correct lyric to be blocked by a similar word. The individual is cognizant of the incorrect lyric thus blocking the correct one at the moment of recall. The second hypothesis, incomplete activation, explains TOTs are triggered by unconsciously knowing the targeted word but unable to fully retrieve it into conscious memory (Brown & McNeill, 1966). The third hypothesis supporting the direct-access theory is the transmission deficit theory, which explains TOTs are triggered when an individual has weak connections between lexical and phonological nodes (Harley & Bown, 1998).

In supporting the inferential view theory, cue-familiarity explains that TOTs could be caused even if the target word is not known; what triggered TOT was a sense of awareness (Metcalfe, Schwartz, & Joaquim, 1993). The accessibility heuristic theory states that while working-memory performs mental shortcuts to retrieve the intended word, it depends on immediate responses that may cause TOT (Schwartz, 1999). However, the more information recovered in relation to the target word, the possibility of resolving the TOT state increases (Schwartz, 1999). Direct-access view and inferential view have the potential to elicit TOT because both involve temporarily unrecalled information caused by semantic, visual, or audio cues (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011).

People enter the TOT state unintentionally when they remember details about a specific concept however the targeted word cannot be retrieved (Brown & McNeill, 1966). Past research has compared visual and audio cues as inducers of TOT states (Riefer, 2002). The findings of the experiment propose that TOT could be exaggerated primarily by the unrecalled information alone and not by the type of cues used (Riefer, 2002). The suggestion was made because the study found no difference in reported rates of TOT when utilizing visual nor audio stimulus (Riefer, 2002). Findings in the experiment are important to the current study due to the type of stimulus utilized on participants, more specifically the visual cues implemented.

Stimuli can serve as cues to aid in the retrieval of learned information. For the current study, insights into memory retrieval processes were obtained by examining graded recall success; specifically, TOT and feeling-of-knowing or FOK states. FOK is defined as a recall failure accompanied by a feeling of future ability to recognize the item (Hart & Kuhlen, 1965). Although TOT and FOK are related experiences, the occurrences differ in key ways. First, TOT is distinguished from FOK by the characteristic urging sense that recall is imminent (Brown & McNeill, 1966). Second, TOT occurs involuntarily, while FOK is triggered by the experimenter and can be made on any non-recalled item. Lastly, with a TOT, subjects are confident that they can eventually recall the target information, with or without additional cues; while FOK, is defined in terms of the subject's predicted likelihood of recognizing the missing word (Hart & Kuhlen, 1965). The accuracy of FOK was first investigated study participants reported higher numbers in recognition by FOK compared to recall (Hart & Kuhlen, 1965).

Previous results of FOK experiments are significant to the current study of TOT because they support the position that a participant's knowledge base can be manipulated by: cues, additional information about the target, and by the type of instruction received. Therefore, the purpose of the current experiment was to observe whether providing individuals with detailed instructions would influence the reported number of TOTs. It was believed that participants shown visual stimulus after being given detailed instructions would be better equipped to combat TOT states compared to the participants given minimal instruction.

Method

  • Participants

Participants in the experiment consisted of 206 participants, 103 were male and 103 were female. The age in years amongst participants raged from minimum of 30 years old to a maximum of 50 years old (M = 42). All participants were English speakers, drafted within the Inland Empire in California, and were convenient sample. Participants were required to watch television prior to the experiment. Of the 206 participants, 28.2% reported watching between 0 - 10 hours of television per week, 36.9% reported watching between 11 - 20 hours of television per week, 22.8% reported watching between 21 - 30 hours of television per week, 10.2% reported watching between 31 - 40 hours of television per week, and finally 1.9% of participants reported watching more than 40 hours of television per week. No incentives were given for their participation. All participants were treated in accordance with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2002).

  • Materials

A computer compatible with Microsoft power-point software to access a slide-show containing 35 photographs of cast members from well-known 1960s to 2000s era television sitcoms (see Appendix). This study included two types of instructions, detailed instruction, and minimal instruction. Detailed instruction, contained a thorough and well-versed description of TOT along with the experiment, in contrast, the minimal instruction contained a vague description of TOT and the experiment. Both sets of instruction included a consent form for participants to mark giving consent. An experimental packet was used by the experimenter; such packet included information about participants' demographics as well as the average number of hours per week spent watching television by each participant. Answer options listed on the experimenters' packet included five responses and were listed as follows: correct response, incorrect response, I do not know, TOT state-resolved, and TOT state-unresolved. Participants were given the definition of each answer option. TOT state-resolved, meant participants experienced TOT for a short of time but were ultimately able to correctly name the sitcom. TOT state-unresolved, meant they entered the TOT state but were not able to recall the correct title of the show. The last piece of material provided participants with contact information to the corresponding coordinator and debriefing statement.

  • Procedure

All participants were first invited to participate in the experiment. If they were in agreeance, participants were asked to sign the informed consent sheet. They were counterbalanced in accordance to gender. Participants were placed in an environment without distractions and carefully read the instructions. Participants were informed that photographs would be presented one by one. Each photograph would remain on the screen for a maximum duration of 60 seconds without the ability to regress and if requested titles of the cast photographs would be given. They were instructed to look at the photograph then attempt to name the title of the sitcom if they could not name it, further questions were asked. Each participant began with a black computer screen that remained until the participant stated that they were ready to begin. Once participants were ready to begin, the slideshow was presented. All replies were recorded manually in accordance with the order in which photographs were presented. Before participants departed they were handed their copy of the debriefing statement and simultaneously thanked for their participation in the study.

  • Design

The purpose of conducting the current experiment was to determine whether providing individuals with detailed instruction would influence the reported number of TOT occurrences. The independent variable in the experiment was the type of instruction distributed among the participants. The independent variable had two conditions (minimal instruction and detailed instruction) each condition had a series of two possible dependent variables of total TOTs (both resolved and unresolved). The current study was an in-between subject design and utilized two sample t-test. The first t-test was performed for correct responses while the second was for TOT occurrences to examine significance (p < .05) of correct responses and TOT rates.

Results

The purpose of conducting the current experiment was to observe whether providing individuals with detailed instructions would influence the reported number of TOT. One of the two sample t-test was used to quantify the participant's correct responses to see whether those with minimal (M = 16.65) and detailed (M = 17.99) instruction were comparable in entertainment knowledge. The findings did not demonstrate a significant difference between minimal and detailed instructions for correct responses t(204) = 1.56, p = .12. The second independent sample t-test was conducted to determine if participants given the detailed instruction (M = 6.77) would experience fewer TOTs than participants given minimal instruction (M = 7.70). When comparing the results of the experiment it was concluded that there was not a significant difference between minimal and detailed instructions for total TOT occurrences t(204) = 1.75, p = .08 (see Figure 1 ).

Discussion

The aim of the current experiment was to examine if instructions have the possibility to influence the incidences of TOT. Before collecting data, it was expected that participants in the detailed instruction condition would report less TOT incidences than participants in the minimal instruction conditions. It was anticipated that providing participants with detailed instructions would hinder TOT occurrences or propel forward the correct targeted word. Contrary to the hypotheses, there was no difference in occurrences of TOT between detailed and minimal instructions. Hence, detailed or minimal instructions do not prevent TOT nor trigger TOT.

The current TOT experiment was conducted to measure impact on participant responses dependent on the type of instruction. As past research, has observed, the number of reported TOTs are directly influenced by the amount of information given to participants prior to asking the question(s) (Jersakova, Moulin, & O'Connor, 2016). For example, if prior to asking a test question participants were informed that answering should be easy, participants were prone to report a TOT state rather than simply declaring the answer as unknown (Jersakova, Moulin, & O'Connor, 2016). In a particular TOT study, two age groups were compared, younger adults (18-30 years) and older adults (60-75 years) to learn about the connection between gesticulation and philological in aiding retrieval during TOT states (Theocharopoulou, Cocks, Pring, & Dipper, 2015). Prior to the experiment, participants were given detailed information and were allowed time to ask experimenters questions concerning the study (Theocharopoulou, Cocks, Pring, & Dipper, 2015). Interestingly, despite the observable age gap between the participants and the scientific research supporting the fact that the number of TOTs increases as age increases; the total number of TOT did not differ between the younger and older groups. Such results underscore the distinctiveness inherent in psychology; that although experiments are set up to establish that X causes Y, the results can be unpredictable.

It was expected that providing participants with more information would hinder the occurrences of TOT. As past research, has observed that the number of reported TOTs were directly influenced by the amount of information given to participants prior to asking the question (Widner, Smith, & Graziano, 1996). Prior studies, have used high-profile people's faces to provoke a TOT state and have seen a pattern of importance on celebrities who had not been in the media recently to increase the number of TOT responses (Brown, 1991). The manner of which targeted words are recalled depend on how memory links information to current information (Robison & Unsworth, 2017). An individual's memory system responds subjectively depending on implied value, working memory capacity, and long-term memory capacity (Robison & Unsworth, 2017). Furthermore, long-term memory is linked to the ability to associate old information with new information (Robison & Unsworth, 2017). Such findings were important because the current study utilized cast photographs of old popular television shows considered old information in memory. As the actors in the photographs continued their career in new content the memory system should have associated the old content to the new content creating links into long-term memory, thus hindering TOT occurrences but the results did not demonstrate the case.

The current study had limitations, including solely relying on participants to accurately report their response. The participants emotional state was not assessed or taken into consideration. Past studies have demonstrated that an individual's emotional state could directly affect memory (Wolf, Atsak, de Quervain, Roozendaal, & Wingenfeld, 2016). Also, the participant's quantity nor quality of sleep were measured; sleep deprivation could cause poor cognitive and memory performance (Chatburn, Kohler, Payne, & Drummond, 2017). Moreover, the study accessed sample were considered convenient participants and likely to have personal affiliation with the experimenter prompting participants to perceive the study as trivial rather than data collection with academic purpose. Lastly, the study was conducted within non-controlled laboratory environment which could have influenced responses.

The challenging task for researchers in regards to TOT is the lack of tangible modes for measuring the experience by a set of standards. Researchers are solely reliant on self-reported participants which is difficult to objectively compare because TOTs could subjective experiences that could vary from occurrence to occurrence. Perhaps researcher will find a way to read neural pathways linked to specific memories to utilize as cues. Thus, future studies should be proficient enough to explain TOTs purpose. Doing so should advance the scientific field towards understanding the phenomenon.

The results also demonstrate the distinctiveness characteristics in experimental psychology; that although some hypotheses are set up to be tested and observe the experiments always carry the possibility of unexpected outcomes. The results of the current study were not as initially expected. Participants in the detailed instruction condition did not report less TOT incidences when compared to participants in the minimal instruction conditions. It was anticipated that providing detailed instructions to participants would hinder TOT occurrences. However, it has been concluded that minimal nor detailed instructions influence the reported number of TOTs.

References

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073

Brennen, T., Vikan, A., & Dybdahl, R. (2007). Are tip-of-the-tongue states universal? Evidence from the speakers of an unwritten language. Memory, 15(2), 167-176. doi:10.1080/09658210601164743

Brown, A. S. (1991). A review of the tip-of-the-tongue experience. Psychological Bulletin, 109(2), 204-223. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.109.2.204

Brown, R., & McNeill, D. (1966). The 'tip of the tongue' phenomenon. Journal Of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior, 5(4), 325-337. doi:10.1016/S0022-5371(66)80040-3

Chatburn, A., Kohler, M. J., Payne, J. D., & Drummond, S. A. (2017). The effects of sleep restriction and sleep deprivation in producing false memories. Neurobiology Of Learning And Memory, 137107-113. doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2016.11.017

Harley, T. A., & Bown, H. E. (1998). What causes a tip-of-the tongue state? Evidence for lexical neighbourhood effects in speech.. British Journal Of Psychology, 89(1), 151-174. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1998.tb02677.x

Hart, J., & Kuhlen, R. (1965). Memory and the feeling-of-knowing experience. Journal of Educational Psychology, 56(4), 208-216. doi:10.1037/h0022263

Jones, G. V. (1989). Back to Woodworth: Role of interlopers in the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. Memory & Cognition, 17(1), 69-76. doi:10.3758/BF03199558

Kalafut, K. L., & Church, R. M. (2017). The quantification of behavior in the presence of compound stimuli. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning And Cognition, 43(1), 96-108. doi:10.1037/xan0000128

Metcalfe, J., Schwartz, B. L., & Joaquim, S. G. (1993). The cue-familiarity heuristic in metacognition. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, And Cognition, 19(4), 851-861. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.19.4.851

Riefer, D. M. (2002). Comparing auditory vs visual stimuli in the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. Psychological Reports, 90(2), 568-576. doi:10.2466/PR0.90.2.568-576

Robison, M. K., & Unsworth, N. (2017). Working memory capacity, strategic allocation of study time, and value-directed remembering. Journal Of Memory And Language, 93231-244. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.10.007

Schwartz, B. L. (1998). Illusory Tip-of-the-tongue States. Memory, 6(6), 623-642. doi:10.1080/096582198388120

Schwartz, B. L., (1999). Sparkling at the end of the tongue: The etiology of tip-of-the-tongue phenomenology. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 6 (3): 379- 393. doi:10.3758/BF03210827

Schwartz, B. L., & Metcalfe, J. (2011). Tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) states: Retrieval, behavior, and experience. Memory & Cognition, 39(5), 737-749. doi:10.3758/s13421-010-0066-8

Theocharopoulou, F., Cocks, N., Pring, T., & Dipper, L. T. (2015). TOT Phenomena: Gesture Production in Younger and Older Adults. Psychology & Aging, 30(2), 245-252. doi:10.1037/a0038913

Widner, R., Smith, S., & Graziano, W. (1996). The Effects of Demand Characteristics on the Reporting of Tip-of-the-Tongue and Feeling-of-Knowing States. The American Journal of Psychology, 109(4), 525-538. doi:10.2307/1423392

Wolf, O. T., Atsak, P., de Quervain, D. J., Roozendaal, B., & Wingenfeld, K. (2016). Stress and Memory: A Selective Review on Recent Developments in the Understanding of Stress Hormone Effects on Memory and Their Clinical Relevance. Journal Of Neuroendocrinology, 28(8), 1-8. doi:10.1111/jne.12353

Appendix     

Visual stimuli presented to participants

1. Baywatch 2. Just shoot me 3. Gilligan's Island 4. Cheers 5. 7th Heaven 6. Home Improvement

7. That 70's show 8. Charmed 9. King of Queens 10. Saved by the bell 11. I dream of Jeanie

12. Mad about you 13. Smallville 14. Family Matters 15. The A-team 16. Bewitched 17. Sex & the city

18. The golden girls 19. Married w/children 20. The west wing 21. BeverlyHills90210 22. Desperate Housewives

http://www.posterplanet.net/pictures/images/ca3c3.jpg 23. Charlie's angels 24. 2 ½ men 25. Family ties 26. Knight rider 27. Little house on the prarie

C:UsersEmery ConstructionDesktopCheryl's DocsHonorscast photosthreescompanycast.jpg

28. The wonder years 29. Scrubs 30. Full house 31. Three's company 32. Fresh prince of Bel Air

33. Growing Pains 34. Stargate SG1 35. Happy days

Figure 1. The bar graph demonstrates the total TOTs (resolved and un-resolved) amongst participant's. Categorized by the type of instruction received and utilizing a sample t-test to measure the independent variable consisting two levels: minimal instruction (M = 7.70) and detailed instruction (M = 6.77). Results concluded that TOT is not manipulated by the amount of instruction as there was not a significant variation between the two levels t(204) = 1.75, p = .08.

Abstract

Tip-of-the-tongue or TOT occurs naturally as an unsuccessful attempt to recall a specific memory and is described as a temporary memory block (Brown & McNeill, 1966). For this study, it was believed that participants exposed to popular television sitcom photographs after being given detailed instructions would be better equipped to combat TOT states compared to the participants given minimal instruction. This study aimed to overcome and explore whether TOT could be manipulated amongst participants in relation to amount of instructions. The study involved 206 participants, half were male and other half were female. The study was an in-between subject design and utilized two sample t-test. The first t-test was performed for correct responses while the second was for TOT occurrences. It was concluded that there was not a significant difference between minimal and detailed instructions for total TOT occurrences, meaning that amount of instruction did not hinder TOT rates. Further study will be required to determine how the different organizations affect TOT such studies should be proficient enough to explain the purpose of TOTs.

Amount of Instruction and Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon

Tip-of-the-tongue or TOT is a universally experienced phenomenon. It is common amongst many cultures, though its underlying purpose is yet to be identified (Brennen, Vikan, & Dybdahl, 2007). TOT occurs spontaneously as an unsuccessful attempt to recall a specific memory and is described as a temporary memory block (Brown & McNeill, 1966). Even with modern technology, the scientific community has yet to give a definite answer to what causes TOT. However, if research continues and further builds upon past research of TOT, the closer science will get to offering simple answers to the phenomenon.

Cues serve as signals with information about the current environment (Kalafut & Church, 2017). The types of cues that have been studied with TOT are semantic, auditory, and visual (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011). Semantic cues are additional information or clues working-memory extracts concerning the target word without recalling the actual word (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011). For example, a semantic cue is a definition of a word without the words occurrence. Auditory cues are triggered by sound while visual cues are triggered using the eyes, both cues enable the individual to gather information (Riefer, 2002). All three forms of stimuli have the potential to trigger a TOT experience (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011).

Currently, there are two contending theories that aid in understanding TOT, direct-access view and inferential view. The direct-access theory states that the targeted memory is not fully embedded in the memory for instant recall, but may be just enough to cause TOT (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011). Inferential view theory states that working-memory is activated when fusing relative pieces of information together, to reach a specific word (Schwartz, 1998). The direct-access view is supported by blocking hypothesis, the incomplete activation hypothesis, and the transmission deficit model (Schwartz, 1999). The inferential view of TOT is supported by cue-familiarity and accessibility heuristic theory (Schwartz, 1999).

The direct-access view is supported by three hypotheses. First, the blocking hypothesis explains TOTs as occurrences prompted by the sufferer as they recall words similar to the targeted word and are cognizant of being incorrect (Jones, 1989). For example, attempting to remember the correct lyric to a song could trigger TOT causing the correct lyric to be blocked by a similar word. The individual is cognizant of the incorrect lyric thus blocking the correct one at the moment of recall. The second hypothesis, incomplete activation, explains TOTs are triggered by unconsciously knowing the targeted word but unable to fully retrieve it into conscious memory (Brown & McNeill, 1966). The third hypothesis supporting the direct-access theory is the transmission deficit theory, which explains TOTs are triggered when an individual has weak connections between lexical and phonological nodes (Harley & Bown, 1998).

In supporting the inferential view theory, cue-familiarity explains that TOTs could be caused even if the target word is not known; what triggered TOT was a sense of awareness (Metcalfe, Schwartz, & Joaquim, 1993). The accessibility heuristic theory states that while working-memory performs mental shortcuts to retrieve the intended word, it depends on immediate responses that may cause TOT (Schwartz, 1999). However, the more information recovered in relation to the target word, the possibility of resolving the TOT state increases (Schwartz, 1999). Direct-access view and inferential view have the potential to elicit TOT because both involve temporarily unrecalled information caused by semantic, visual, or audio cues (Schwartz & Metcalfe, 2011).

People enter the TOT state unintentionally when they remember details about a specific concept however the targeted word cannot be retrieved (Brown & McNeill, 1966). Past research has compared visual and audio cues as inducers of TOT states (Riefer, 2002). The findings of the experiment propose that TOT could be exaggerated primarily by the unrecalled information alone and not by the type of cues used (Riefer, 2002). The suggestion was made because the study found no difference in reported rates of TOT when utilizing visual nor audio stimulus (Riefer, 2002). Findings in the experiment are important to the current study due to the type of stimulus utilized on participants, more specifically the visual cues implemented.

Stimuli can serve as cues to aid in the retrieval of learned information. For the current study, insights into memory retrieval processes were obtained by examining graded recall success; specifically, TOT and feeling-of-knowing or FOK states. FOK is defined as a recall failure accompanied by a feeling of future ability to recognize the item (Hart & Kuhlen, 1965). Although TOT and FOK are related experiences, the occurrences differ in key ways. First, TOT is distinguished from FOK by the characteristic urging sense that recall is imminent (Brown & McNeill, 1966). Second, TOT occurs involuntarily, while FOK is triggered by the experimenter and can be made on any non-recalled item. Lastly, with a TOT, subjects are confident that they can eventually recall the target information, with or without additional cues; while FOK, is defined in terms of the subject's predicted likelihood of recognizing the missing word (Hart & Kuhlen, 1965). The accuracy of FOK was first investigated study participants reported higher numbers in recognition by FOK compared to recall (Hart & Kuhlen, 1965).

Previous results of FOK experiments are significant to the current study of TOT because they support the position that a participant's knowledge base can be manipulated by: cues, additional information about the target, and by the type of instruction received. Therefore, the purpose of the current experiment was to observe whether providing individuals with detailed instructions would influence the reported number of TOTs. It was believed that participants shown visual stimulus after being given detailed instructions would be better equipped to combat TOT states compared to the participants given minimal instruction.

Method

  • Participants

Participants in the experiment consisted of 206 participants, 103 were male and 103 were female. The age in years amongst participants raged from minimum of 30 years old to a maximum of 50 years old (M = 42). All participants were English speakers, drafted within the Inland Empire in California, and were convenient sample. Participants were required to watch television prior to the experiment. Of the 206 participants, 28.2% reported watching between 0 - 10 hours of television per week, 36.9% reported watching between 11 - 20 hours of television per week, 22.8% reported watching between 21 - 30 hours of television per week, 10.2% reported watching between 31 - 40 hours of television per week, and finally 1.9% of participants reported watching more than 40 hours of television per week. No incentives were given for their participation. All participants were treated in accordance with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2002).

  • Materials

A computer compatible with Microsoft power-point software to access a slide-show containing 35 photographs of cast members from well-known 1960s to 2000s era television sitcoms (see Appendix). This study included two types of instructions, detailed instruction, and minimal instruction. Detailed instruction, contained a thorough and well-versed description of TOT along with the experiment, in contrast, the minimal instruction contained a vague description of TOT and the experiment. Both sets of instruction included a consent form for participants to mark giving consent. An experimental packet was used by the experimenter; such packet included information about participants' demographics as well as the average number of hours per week spent watching television by each participant. Answer options listed on the experimenters' packet included five responses and were listed as follows: correct response, incorrect response, I do not know, TOT state-resolved, and TOT state-unresolved. Participants were given the definition of each answer option. TOT state-resolved, meant participants experienced TOT for a short of time but were ultimately able to correctly name the sitcom. TOT state-unresolved, meant they entered the TOT state but were not able to recall the correct title of the show. The last piece of material provided participants with contact information to the corresponding coordinator and debriefing statement.

  • Procedure

All participants were first invited to participate in the experiment. If they were in agreeance, participants were asked to sign the informed consent sheet. They were counterbalanced in accordance to gender. Participants were placed in an environment without distractions and carefully read the instructions. Participants were informed that photographs would be presented one by one. Each photograph would remain on the screen for a maximum duration of 60 seconds without the ability to regress and if requested titles of the cast photographs would be given. They were instructed to look at the photograph then attempt to name the title of the sitcom if they could not name it, further questions were asked. Each participant began with a black computer screen that remained until the participant stated that they were ready to begin. Once participants were ready to begin, the slideshow was presented. All replies were recorded manually in accordance with the order in which photographs were presented. Before participants departed they were handed their copy of the debriefing statement and simultaneously thanked for their participation in the study.

  • Design

The purpose of conducting the current experiment was to determine whether providing individuals with detailed instruction would influence the reported number of TOT occurrences. The independent variable in the experiment was the type of instruction distributed among the participants. The independent variable had two conditions (minimal instruction and detailed instruction) each condition had a series of two possible dependent variables of total TOTs (both resolved and unresolved). The current study was an in-between subject design and utilized two sample t-test. The first t-test was performed for correct responses while the second was for TOT occurrences to examine significance (p < .05) of correct responses and TOT rates.

Results

The purpose of conducting the current experiment was to observe whether providing individuals with detailed instructions would influence the reported number of TOT. One of the two sample t-test was used to quantify the participant's correct responses to see whether those with minimal (M = 16.65) and detailed (M = 17.99) instruction were comparable in entertainment knowledge. The findings did not demonstrate a significant difference between minimal and detailed instructions for correct responses t(204) = 1.56, p = .12. The second independent sample t-test was conducted to determine if participants given the detailed instruction (M = 6.77) would experience fewer TOTs than participants given minimal instruction (M = 7.70). When comparing the results of the experiment it was concluded that there was not a significant difference between minimal and detailed instructions for total TOT occurrences t(204) = 1.75, p = .08 (see Figure 1 ).

Discussion

The aim of the current experiment was to examine if instructions have the possibility to influence the incidences of TOT. Before collecting data, it was expected that participants in the detailed instruction condition would report less TOT incidences than participants in the minimal instruction conditions. It was anticipated that providing participants with detailed instructions would hinder TOT occurrences or propel forward the correct targeted word. Contrary to the hypotheses, there was no difference in occurrences of TOT between detailed and minimal instructions. Hence, detailed or minimal instructions do not prevent TOT nor trigger TOT.

The current TOT experiment was conducted to measure impact on participant responses dependent on the type of instruction. As past research, has observed, the number of reported TOTs are directly influenced by the amount of information given to participants prior to asking the question(s) (Jersakova, Moulin, & O'Connor, 2016). For example, if prior to asking a test question participants were informed that answering should be easy, participants were prone to report a TOT state rather than simply declaring the answer as unknown (Jersakova, Moulin, & O'Connor, 2016). In a particular TOT study, two age groups were compared, younger adults (18-30 years) and older adults (60-75 years) to learn about the connection between gesticulation and philological in aiding retrieval during TOT states (Theocharopoulou, Cocks, Pring, & Dipper, 2015). Prior to the experiment, participants were given detailed information and were allowed time to ask experimenters questions concerning the study (Theocharopoulou, Cocks, Pring, & Dipper, 2015). Interestingly, despite the observable age gap between the participants and the scientific research supporting the fact that the number of TOTs increases as age increases; the total number of TOT did not differ between the younger and older groups. Such results underscore the distinctiveness inherent in psychology; that although experiments are set up to establish that X causes Y, the results can be unpredictable.

It was expected that providing participants with more information would hinder the occurrences of TOT. As past research, has observed that the number of reported TOTs were directly influenced by the amount of information given to participants prior to asking the question (Widner, Smith, & Graziano, 1996). Prior studies, have used high-profile people's faces to provoke a TOT state and have seen a pattern of importance on celebrities who had not been in the media recently to increase the number of TOT responses (Brown, 1991). The manner of which targeted words are recalled depend on how memory links information to current information (Robison & Unsworth, 2017). An individual's memory system responds subjectively depending on implied value, working memory capacity, and long-term memory capacity (Robison & Unsworth, 2017). Furthermore, long-term memory is linked to the ability to associate old information with new information (Robison & Unsworth, 2017). Such findings were important because the current study utilized cast photographs of old popular television shows considered old information in memory. As the actors in the photographs continued their career in new content the memory system should have associated the old content to the new content creating links into long-term memory, thus hindering TOT occurrences but the results did not demonstrate the case.

The current study had limitations, including solely relying on participants to accurately report their response. The participants emotional state was not assessed or taken into consideration. Past studies have demonstrated that an individual's emotional state could directly affect memory (Wolf, Atsak, de Quervain, Roozendaal, & Wingenfeld, 2016). Also, the participant's quantity nor quality of sleep were measured; sleep deprivation could cause poor cognitive and memory performance (Chatburn, Kohler, Payne, & Drummond, 2017). Moreover, the study accessed sample were considered convenient participants and likely to have personal affiliation with the experimenter prompting participants to perceive the study as trivial rather than data collection with academic purpose. Lastly, the study was conducted within non-controlled laboratory environment which could have influenced responses.

The challenging task for researchers in regards to TOT is the lack of tangible modes for measuring the experience by a set of standards. Researchers are solely reliant on self-reported participants which is difficult to objectively compare because TOTs could subjective experiences that could vary from occurrence to occurrence. Perhaps researcher will find a way to read neural pathways linked to specific memories to utilize as cues. Thus, future studies should be proficient enough to explain TOTs purpose. Doing so should advance the scientific field towards understanding the phenomenon.

The results also demonstrate the distinctiveness characteristics in experimental psychology; that although some hypotheses are set up to be tested and observe the experiments always carry the possibility of unexpected outcomes. The results of the current study were not as initially expected. Participants in the detailed instruction condition did not report less TOT incidences when compared to participants in the minimal instruction conditions. It was anticipated that providing detailed instructions to participants would hinder TOT occurrences. However, it has been concluded that minimal nor detailed instructions influence the reported number of TOTs.

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Appendix     

Visual stimuli presented to participants

1. Baywatch 2. Just shoot me 3. Gilligan's Island 4. Cheers 5. 7th Heaven 6. Home Improvement

7. That 70's show 8. Charmed 9. King of Queens 10. Saved by the bell 11. I dream of Jeanie

12. Mad about you 13. Smallville 14. Family Matters 15. The A-team 16. Bewitched 17. Sex & the city

18. The golden girls 19. Married w/children 20. The west wing 21. BeverlyHills90210 22. Desperate Housewives

http://www.posterplanet.net/pictures/images/ca3c3.jpg 23. Charlie's angels 24. 2 ½ men 25. Family ties 26. Knight rider 27. Little house on the prarie

C:UsersEmery ConstructionDesktopCheryl's DocsHonorscast photosthreescompanycast.jpg

28. The wonder years 29. Scrubs 30. Full house 31. Three's company 32. Fresh prince of Bel Air

33. Growing Pains 34. Stargate SG1 35. Happy days

Figure 1. The bar graph demonstrates the total TOTs (resolved and un-resolved) amongst participant's. Categorized by the type of instruction received and utilizing a sample t-test to measure the independent variable consisting two levels: minimal instruction (M = 7.70) and detailed instruction (M = 6.77). Results concluded that TOT is not manipulated by the amount of instruction as there was not a significant variation between the two levels t(204) = 1.75, p = .08.

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