Personality Traits Moderate the Relationship between Statistical Learning Ability and Second-Language Learners’ Sentence Comprehension

AbstractAn accumulating body of evidence has demonstrated a tight coupling between individual differences (ID) in statistical learning ability (SL) and variation in language performance in child and adult native speaker populations, with some initial evidence that this coupling extends to second language (L2) speakers. However, surprisingly little work has been conducted to assess potential interactions between SL and other experience-related and affective ID factors. Using a within-subjects design embedded in an ID framework, the present study attempts to fill this gap by investigating whether the impact of SL ability on language is moderated by individual differences in personality traits and the amount of experience an individual has had with the L2. The results of the study revealed a complex interplay between ID factors and variation in L2 comprehension of different types of complex sentences indicating that the effect of SL ability on language comprehension is moderated by personality traits.

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