Working memory and cognitive complexity of writing tasks in Spanish as a foreign language

Irini Mavrou – Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, España

Irini Mavrou 2018: "Memoria operativa y complejidad cognitiva en tareas de expresión escrita en español como lengua extranjera", Onomázein 41, 125-146.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.41.02

The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of working memory capacity (WMC) in foreign language (FL) written production. Sixty-five Greek learners of Spanish as a FL performed two written tasks, the first one under time pressure and the second one under relatively easier task conditions (i.e. more time-on-task), and their linguistic performance was assessed by an analytical assessment scale. WMC was measured by means of three tasks, i.e. the Speaking Span Task, the Math Span Task and a non-word repetition task, which was designed in order to measure the phonological short-term memory capacity. The results showed that WMC made a statistically significant contribution to the prediction of text quality in both tasks, which was slightly higher in the performance of the more complex task, while phonological short-term memory capacity had a positive influence only on the performance of the less demanding task.