Linguistic Signatures of Cognitive Processes during Writing


The relationship between working memory capacity and writing ability was examined via a linguistic analysis of student essays. Undergraduate students (n = 108) wrote timed, prompt-based essays and completed a battery of cognitive assessments. The surface- and discourse-level linguistic features of students’ essays were then analyzed using natural language processing tools. The results indicated that WM capacity was related to surface-level, but not discourse-level features of student essays. Additionally, the results suggest that these relationships were attenuated for students with high inferencing skills, as opposed to those with lower inferencing skills.

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