Got Something on the Tip of Your Tongue? Make a fist!

Disclaimer: this is based on a very tentative study, but I thought was intriguing and Left Fistharmless enough to try for yourself.  The idea is that the “Tip of the Tongue” phenomenon, where you can almost but not quite remember a word (for example) is at least partly a function of unconscious, right-hemisphere processing.

By clenching your left fist (or, theoretically, any significant portion of the left side of your body) you increase blood-flow to the contralateral or right hemisphere, which gives the retrieval mechanisms a lift.  In the study they did a 90 second clench, but you can experiment with different intervals.

Interestingly, I had thought it was a right fist-clench to activate the language areas which are typically on the left side (90% for right handers, 70% for left handers), but for retrieval it’s thought to be more effective to clench the left fist.  Clenching the right fist apparently helped with memory formation, the left fist with remembering.

Do your own experiments and leave a comment about what you discovered, pro or con!

[Photo Credit: Author]

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This entry was posted in Mnemonics, Neuroscience, Unconscious and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Got Something on the Tip of Your Tongue? Make a fist!

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