On the Tip of Your Tongue

Presque Vu


I chose this topic because it seemed different than the same old deja vu that most already know about. There is still little known on why this happens or works, so if we could figure it out, perhaps we could open doors to those with failing memories, and help them.
Presque Vu is also known as the tip of the tongue phenomena. It is where one cannot recall a common name or word, as the word becomes elusive.

The Brain

While one has this lapse in memory the brain has many parts active. The most active would be Anterior Cingulate Cortex, yet it still has yet to be discovered why these parts of the brain are active during this mental state.
The posterior medial parietal cortex, bilateral lateral parietal cortex, and the bilateral superior prefrontal cortex are involved in retrieval and evaluation of information in the brain, so it is believed that perhaps there is some sort of conflict in these areas of the brain that leaves one speechless.
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William James

William James was the first to psychologically describe the sensation known as Presque Vu. Though first research done to explore the mental process was done at Harvard, by Brown and McNeil. They proceeded to read definitions of rare words to people and asked the people to say the word. Then if they struggled with thinking of the word they would then be asked if they could feel the sensation of it being on the tip of their tongue. If they could feel it on the tip of their tongue they would typically on be able to state the first syllable or letter.

Fun Fact

Presque vu comes from the French, meaning “almost seen” the sensation of being on the brink of an epiphany. Seen as the manifestation of Christ.