In Defence of Ese and Inyanya on BSc and MSc Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon.
“What’s my wife’s middle name again? I knew it. It’s at the back of my mind, just can’t recall it”
I guess such phenomenon has happened to you. As embarrassing as it is, it’s sure an occurrence that’s not just inevitable, it’s also subconscious.
I remember a similar incident in my Secondary School. There was a young lady who was assisting our government teacher under the Teaching Practice Scheme. I must admit she knew the subject quite well, as though it was at the back of her hand. She was quite remarkable at that subject and at a time, we felt she was better at it than our main teacher.
Usually, as part of the requirement of the Teaching Practice Scheme, a supervisor from the government would come to the school to assess the performance of the trainee teachers. The supervisor would sit at the back of the class and watch the trainee deliver the lecture to the students. We had seen that happen with other trainee teachers often.
Once the supervisor was seated at the back and we were all set for the lecture, the drama began. The once intelligent teacher became very nervous. Summarily, she was unable to remember the spelling of government. After many attempts to get it correctly written on the black board, she settled for the abbreviation.
The Tip-of-the-tongue Moments.
The social media was awash with stories, memes and those graphic description of the former Fake Big Brother Naija House mate, Ese Eriata where she failed to say the full meaning of BSc in a Tv interview.
As if that was not enough, just few days after that, the singer, Inyanya, who was a guest on HipTv’s “Trending” could not provide the full meaning of the acronym, MSc at the interview.
We’ve also had cases of government appointees who could not recite the national anthem correctly at the Senate Screening, and a presidential aspirant who did not get the full meaning of INEC correctly.
The question is: Are these celebrities, regardless of their exposure and education so dumb not to know what mere BSc and MSc mean? I don’t think so. Come to think of it, Inyanya is a graduate of Business Management from the University of Calabar. Ese is…, well, couldn’t find that out but she’s smart and bright. Or could it be the host, Nancy? Didn’t she set out to have them muttering words they know? Well, that’s for fun anyways.
What could be the reason for that momentary loss of memory?
Tip of the Tongue is the phenomenon of failing to retrieve a word from memory, combined with partial recall and the feeling that retrieval is imminent.
You see Ese striving to recall what BSc means. She said “Oh! My god, I know it..” You see her making frantic attempts to recall the meaning. Both Ese and Inyanya got the first words of the two acronyms correctly but failed to recall the rest. Objectively speaking, it was obvious they know the answers.
It’s one of the most frustrating feelings: You know the word exists, and you know what it means, but you just can’t spit it out. You know the feeling. You can’t seem to bring the information to the front of your mind. That’s “tip of the tongue” phenomenon, and it is a failure of memory retrieval.
Research says that to remember anything, your brain must first learn it, retain it awhile, then recall it. Those are separate processes. As brain researchers have found, most failure of remembering happens in the last stage, the retrieval (“recall”) stage.
The TOT is a broad subject and you could do a further study on that. Nevertheless, that has for most parts, explained what happened in Ese and Inyanya’s case.
Also understand the nervousness one experiences when one is being interviewed and on the full glare of the camera. Being celebrities did not exclude them from that normal human emotion of feeling tensed up. In situation like that, we behave a little bit irrational.
You would argue that the celebrities in question are constantly exposed to the camera but acting and singing do not always represent spontaneous activities. They involve, planning, rehearsals and continuous practise. Interviews are most times, spontaneous and you are caught unprepared.
Perhaps you didn’t know or are experiencing TOT right now, BSc is Bachelors in Science, an undergraduate academic degree awarded by universities upon completion of the required courses.
In contrast to the BSc degree, the Master of Science, MSc, degree is typically granted for studies in sciences, engineering, medicine, humanities and social sciences. Earning a Master of Science degree requires writing of Thesis.