This SLLAT talk will be delivered by Bimali Indrarathne, Michael Ratajczak, Judit Kormos, on 'How much exposure is needed for learners to pay attention? Lessons from an eye-tracking study'.


In this study we examined how students pay attention to target items in written L2 input in different instructional conditions and how attentional processing is related to the length of exposure. In an eye-tracking study, 77 undergraduate L2 learners of English in Sri Lanka read three short stories containing 21 examples (7 examples each) of a grammatical construction on three separate sessions. The first group read the stories with no textual enhancement and the second with the examples of the target structure visually enhanced. These were considered implicit instructional conditions. The third group was exposed to enhanced input with a specific instruction to pay attention to the highlighted construction in the input. The fourth group also received explicit explanation of the target construction between the first and second exposures. The latter two exposures were considered explicit instructional conditions. Eye tracking was used to collect data on attentional processing, which we measured by total fixation duration (TFD).

The results of the growth curve analysis indicate significant main effects of instructional condition and test sessions on TFD and a significant interaction between these two factors. For the whole sample, a non-linear decrease in TFD, which followed an S-shaped curve was observed. Depending on the experimental condition, however, patterns of change varied with the learners in the explicit instructional conditions exhibiting predominantly linear reduction in total fixation duration. In the implicit conditions, decrease was linear only in the first session, and in other sessions either no change or U- or S-shaped patterns of change emerged.

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