How Declarative and Procedural Memory Interact with Language Training Conditions
Brill, Katherine A.
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The pattern of adult second language acquisition and proficiency does not follow as stable a pattern as it does in children. Various individual differences have been explored to potentially account for this difference. This study focuses on procedural learning ability and its role in adult second language development. Twenty-six native English speakers were randomly assigned to be trained either in implicit or explicit training conditions to learn an artificial language. Participants also underwent three separate measures of procedural learning ability – the Tower of London, the Alternating Serial Response Task, and the Weather Prediction Task. The measures of procedural learning ability showed significant correlations to grammar assessments and language practice data at two time points only for those in implicit training conditions. Data was also analyzed using high vs. low procedural learning ability (as determined by a median split), training condition and performance on language assessments in an analysis of variance as well as a simple regression. Results indicate that high procedural learning ability paired with language learning in implicit training conditions produces optimal performance on final grammar assessments.