Remember scratching your head when you couldn't recall the word you intended to use and it kept hanging at the tip of your tongue but never came out? Well, researchers have offered to explain the reason behind the annoying phenomenon.
Karen Emmorey, director of the Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience at San Diego State University, suggested forgetfulness may have something to do with the lapses.
Emmorey and her colleagues tested the idea of a mechanism called phonological blocking, where people try to think of a specific word and some other, similar-sounding word pops up in the brain and "blocks" their ability to access the right word, Live Science reported.
Boffins tested people who spoke two languages, as well as deaf people who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.
Emmorey said: "We wanted to look at whether we saw a parallel in signers - do they have a tip-of-the-finger state?"
The expert proposed the forgetfulness may have to do with how frequently or infrequently we use certain words, suggesting the less the word is used the harder the brain has to work to recall it.
The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego, California.