Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/332902
Title:
The Role of Executive Control in Language Learning
Author:
Zavaleta, Kaitlyn Leigh
Issue Date:
2014
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines whether enhanced executive function plays a role in successful second language acquisition (SLA). Specifically, I examine learners’ performance in language learning tasks and in three tasks argued to reflect components of Miyake et al.’s (2000) model of executive control. Many studies in the past decade have claimed to find superior performance in executive control tasks by lifelong bilinguals (e.g., Bialystok, 2011). There is also research that supports a relationship between bilingualism and success in third language acquisition (TLA) (e.g., Kaushanskaya & Marian, 2009). The purpose of the present research is to explore whether an advantage in learning an additional language might be due to enhanced executive function. If enhanced executive function aids language learning, then I expect to find a significant correlation between performance on a language learning task and performance on executive function tasks, even for learners without a history of bilingualism. In this dissertation, I first describe the literature that examines the variables that support SLA, as well as research showing a bilingual advantage in executive function. Next I present empirical studies I conducted in which monolinguals, language learners, and bilinguals were taught novel words in an unfamiliar language (Turkish) and completed a series of language learning and executive function tasks, as well as another study in which language learners and bilinguals currently enrolled in a second language course were tested in the same tasks. Results show some group effects for executive function and language learning tasks, but the results are not consistent with previous research. Furthermore, the relationship between executive function skills and language learning success is complex and inconsistent, suggesting that further research is needed.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
SLA; Psychology; Bilingualism
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Psychology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Nicol, Janet L.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleThe Role of Executive Control in Language Learningen_US
dc.creatorZavaleta, Kaitlyn Leighen_US
dc.contributor.authorZavaleta, Kaitlyn Leighen_US
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines whether enhanced executive function plays a role in successful second language acquisition (SLA). Specifically, I examine learners’ performance in language learning tasks and in three tasks argued to reflect components of Miyake et al.’s (2000) model of executive control. Many studies in the past decade have claimed to find superior performance in executive control tasks by lifelong bilinguals (e.g., Bialystok, 2011). There is also research that supports a relationship between bilingualism and success in third language acquisition (TLA) (e.g., Kaushanskaya & Marian, 2009). The purpose of the present research is to explore whether an advantage in learning an additional language might be due to enhanced executive function. If enhanced executive function aids language learning, then I expect to find a significant correlation between performance on a language learning task and performance on executive function tasks, even for learners without a history of bilingualism. In this dissertation, I first describe the literature that examines the variables that support SLA, as well as research showing a bilingual advantage in executive function. Next I present empirical studies I conducted in which monolinguals, language learners, and bilinguals were taught novel words in an unfamiliar language (Turkish) and completed a series of language learning and executive function tasks, as well as another study in which language learners and bilinguals currently enrolled in a second language course were tested in the same tasks. Results show some group effects for executive function and language learning tasks, but the results are not consistent with previous research. Furthermore, the relationship between executive function skills and language learning success is complex and inconsistent, suggesting that further research is needed.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectSLAen_US
dc.subjectPsychologyen_US
dc.subjectBilingualismen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePsychologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorNicol, Janet L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNicol, Janet L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberForster, Kenneth I.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAllen, Johnen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberEcke, Peteren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDeDe, Gayleen_US
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