A study of the effects of individual differences in working memory capacity and synchronous computer-mediated communication in a second language on second language oral proficiency development
Jonathan Scott Payne, Washington State University, United States
Washington State University . Awarded
This manuscript consists of two papers employing concepts from working memory and Levelt's (1989) model language production from cognitive psychology in an effort to better understand processes involved in second language production. The first paper outlines Levelt's model and explains how when expanded to incorporate concepts from working memory this model can effectively explain second language production processes. The second paper extends and tests these conclusions in an empirical context. Over a 15-week period, an experiment involving 58 participants tested the hypothesis that synchronous computer mediated communication in a second language can indirectly improve oral proficiency by developing the same cognitive mechanisms underlying spontaneous conversational speech in a second language. A second hypothesis tested in this study was that individual differences in working memory capacity can effectively predict the rate of L2 oral proficiency development for different types of learners in a chatroom setting. Findings confirmed the first hypothesis suggesting that synchronous on-line conferencing can indirectly improve speaking ability in a second language. Findings pertaining to the second hypothesis indicated that the constraints placed on learners of working memory capacity in oral production may be reduced in the chatroom setting.
Payne, J.S. A study of the effects of individual differences in working memory capacity and synchronous computer-mediated communication in a second language on second language oral proficiency development. Ph.D. thesis, Washington State University.
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