Examination of the letter serial position effect in the “TOT” and the “don’t know” states

Asher Koriat, Israel Lieblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brown and McNeill (1966) found that subjects in the “tip of the tongue” (TOT) state were better able to guess letters in earlier and later positions of an inaccessible word than letters in the middle positions. This finding was re-examined in terms of Koriat and Lieblich’s (1974) analysis of sources of information detection. The relatively high detection of letters in later positions was also found for a “don’t know” state and appears to result from: (a) a better ability to approximate the distribution of letters in these positions and (b) a stronger correlation in these positions than in others between the semantic and structural features of words. Only the relatively high correct detection of initial letters in the TOT state appears to be particularly indicative of the manner in which specific words are stored in memory and retrieved from it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-541
Number of pages3
JournalBulletin of the Psychonomic Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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