The Impact of L2 Learning on Working Memory: A Case of Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners

Mohammad Tarang, Omid Ostad, Hamed Abbasi Mojdehi


The impact, effect and agreement of working memory on second language learning has received some attention in L2 research. However, there seems to be a massive gap regarding the reverse, i.e. the effect of second language learning on working memory. Cognitive advantages of learning a second language are presumed to derive from the requirement to continuously control the activation of lexical representations from the non-target language in a way that they have no interference with the ongoing language processing (Green, 1998). The present study draws on one of the most prominent models for working memory put forward by Baddeley and Hitch (1974). This study attempts to assess the impact of learning a second language on the aforementioned components of the participants' short term memory. For the sake of the study, 48 participants (aged14-16 at the beginning of the study) were selected out of which 24 had just started attending English language classes in Zabansara Language Institute and the other half had been studying English in the same institute for 3 years in Astaneh, Guilan. The instruments employed were the Non-word test, the digit span test, the questionnaire based on Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; WAIS (1930) and Corsi Block Tapping –Test (1970) to assess the short term memory of the participants with different language learning backgrounds. The statistical analyses of the results provide evidence in support of the effect of background of learning English as a second language on the improvement of short term memory.


foreign language learning, working memory, Iranian EFL learners

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research