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SLLAT & LTRG: Revesz, Michel, & Gilabert "Measuring cognitive task demands"

Date: 28 November 2012 Time: 3.30-5.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR 20

The Second Language Learning and Teaching & Language Testing Research groups are pleased to announce the following presentation:

Measuring cognitive task demands using dual task methodology, subjective self-ratings, and time estimation

Andrea Revesz, Marije Michel, & Roger Gilabert

This study aimed to explore and evaluate the relative usefulness of three methods in examining cognitive demands generated by changes in task complexity in response to recent calls to provide evidence for the validity of task complexity manipulations utilised in L2 task-based research. Drawing on work in applied cognitive psychology, we compared and triangulated data obtained from dual task methodology, subjective self-ratings, and time estimations.

The participants were 24 English native speakers (NS), 24 Spanish and 24 German learners of English at high intermediate level, which allowed for comparisons across L2 learners and NSs, and typologically different L2 groups. All participants carried out simple and complex versions of three oral tasks - a picture narrative, a map task, and a problem-solving task. The tasks were delivered via computer and counterbalanced across participants. From each language group, 12 participants completed the tasks under a dual task condition, that is, during the oral task performance, they were additionally requested to react as fast and accurately as possible to a simple visual stimulus. The remaining 12 participants performed the tasks under the single condition without an added visual task. After completing a task, all participants rated their mental effort, and estimated the time they had taken to perform the task.

As predicted, repeated measures ANOVAs yielded slower reaction times, lower accuracy, and higher ratings for the complex task versions. Contrary to expectations, time estimates did not differentiate simple from complex tasks. Building on our results and the methodological challenges encountered, we will assess the advantages and disadvantages of each method utilised and discuss their potential for future TBLT research and practice.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Linguistics and English Language


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