Attentional control, working memory and language aptitude : a correlational study of the relationship between second language proficiency, attentional control and working memory
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The aim of this thesis is to provide further insight into the somewhat mysterious relationship between language aptitude, working memory and attentional control. As such, a group of Norwegian university students of English were quantitatively tested in English proficiency, working memory and attentional control. A total of eight different tests were conducted, and all participants were tested individually under calm and controlled circumstances so as to prevent any intervening input. The results were subsequently analysed and checked for correlation in the open source software R. Surprisingly, the analysis did not yield any statistically significant results, though some trends were detected. These trends revealed an interesting relationship between one of the measures of phonological short-term memory and L2 proficiency, as well as between attentional control and L2 proficiency. Consequently, the findings of the present study conform to previous research and add weight to hypotheses of working memory, attentional control and language somehow being interconnected. This is highly interesting and somewhat controversial, and thus more research is needed in order to determine the specific characteristics of the relationship between these cognitive mechanisms and language.