The role of working memory in processing L2 input: insights from eye-tracking

Bimali Indrarathne, Judit Kormos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our study investigated how attention paid to a target syntactic construction causative had is related to the storage capacity and attention regulation function of working memory (WM) and how these WM abilities moderate the change of knowledge of the target construction in different input conditions. 80 Sri Lankan learners of English were exposed to examples of the target construction in explicit and implicit learning conditions and their eye movements were tracked as they read the input. Correlational and multiple regression analyses indicated a very strong relationship between WM abilities and gains in the knowledge of the target construction. WM scores were closely associated with gains in receptive knowledge in all input conditions, but they had a weaker link to the improvement of productive knowledge in the implicit learning conditions. The amount of attention paid to input was also strongly related to WM abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-374
Number of pages20
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Issue number2
Early online date15 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Attention
  • central executive functions
  • eye-tracking
  • input processing
  • working memory capacity

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