The Impact of Task Complexity on Iranian EFL Learners' L2 Reading Comprehension

Malak Ziba Mehrinejad, Seyed Hesamuddin Aliasin


The present study was conducted to compare the effect of dual task instruction with that of single task instruction on reading comprehension. Skehan (1998) argues that the more demanding tasks tap into more attentional resources, the less attention will be available to focus on form. Robinson's (2005) prediction that increasing task complexity along resource–dispersing dimensions will result in worse outcomes matches with Skehan's argument. Sixty intermediate students, majoring in English language and translation studies at the University of Zanjan were selected based on the Nelson English Language Test results. These participants were then randomly divided into three groups: one control group and two experimental groups. The participants in each group read a text, but under different instructions. The participants of the first group were required to read the text and then answer the reading comprehension questions only (single reading comprehension instruction). The participants in the second group were told to read the text and then answer both vocabulary and reading comprehension questions (dual task). The participants of control group received no task instruction. Data analysis results indicated that single task group (reading comprehension task instruction) outperformed the dual task group (both vocabulary and reading comprehension task instruction).


dual tasks, single tasks, task complexity, attentional resource, reading comprehension, EFL learners

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research