Correlations between working memory capacity and EFL reading comprehension: an investigation with Brazilian university students
Palavras-chave:capacidade de memória de trabalho, compreensão leitora em inglês como língua estrangeira, tempo de leitura, ritmo de compreensão
Reading in a foreign language is considered a high cognitive function, believed, thus, to impose demands on working memory resources. Studies have shown significant correlations between working memory capacity and foreign language reading comprehension, but its underlying mechanisms are still open to discussion. This article reports on a study whose objective was to investigate possible correlations between working memory capacity and foreign language reading comprehension considering the knowledge of the first language as a possible source of interference. A recall task was conducted in two conditions, one in which readers performed the task in English and another, in Portuguese. Results showed a weak but statistically significant correlation between working memory capacity and recall scores in the second condition and no correlations between working memory capacity and reading time. Exploratory data analyses suggested that the correlation observed was influenced by foreign language reading proficiency and that the ratio of recall scores to reading time is a better measure of comprehension efficiency.
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