In a classic “Seinfeld” dilemma, Jerry draws a blank on his new girlfriend’s name, and the relationship has become too intimate for him just to ask. Throughout the half hour episode, Jerry’s various ploys to jog his memory bear no fruit, and the denouement comes too late to salvage the nascent romance. By the end of the show, the girlfriend has discovered his predicament, become irate, and stormed out of his apartment. And that’s when it hits him: Dolores.
Now, two psychologists from McMaster University are shedding light on the cause of Jerry’s mental block. According to a new study by Amy Beth Warriner and Karin Humphreys, the longer you try to come up with the word that’s on the tip of your tongue, the more likely you’ll be to get stuck on that word in the future.
For years, Humphreys herself endured a Seinfeld-like struggle with the word 'obsidian,' the term for black, shiny volcanic glass. Instead of saying 'obsidian,' Humphreys would think, “It’s like oblong, but no, it’s not oblong. I know that it’s not oblong but that’s the only word coming to mind,” she says.
Take a look at a video report on this subject here.