Subido por Maria Camila Oviedo Cardenas

Research Synthesis Example

Research Synthesis
Maria Camila Oviedo Cardenas
Mavrou, I. (2020). Working memory, executive functions, and emotional intelligence in
second language writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 50 (1), p.
100758, doi 10.1016/j.jslw.2020.100758
What are the research questions (purpose or objective)?
Mavrou, I (2021) develop her research question based on how the “working
memory” process and “emotional intelligence” are important factors to the production
of educational level texts and how natural emotional stimulus influence aspects of
writing process.
The present study addressed the following question: To what extent are specific
WM functions (inhibition, shifting, updating, visuospatial WMC) and trait EI
significant determinants of CAF in L2 writing performance prompted by an
audiovisual blended emotion stimulus? (p. 4)
Who are the participants?
The participants in this study were 59 learners with an intermediate Spanish
level which was defined thanks to a test that the students performed during the
complication of fundamental information for the study. The participants were in an age
range between 18 and 26 years old. Most of them were from the USA and China.
However, students from different countries also participated in the study.
What is the research context?
The research was carried out at the Spanish institutes where participants took
Spanish course.
What are the major debates in the field that researches are reporting in the lit
There are two specific areas that many researchers have study for this topic: the
working memory and the emotional intelligence and how those relate or impact the
process of L2 writing. Mavrou (2021, p. 2) define WM as “a mechanism comprised of
both domain-general and domain-specific mechanisms that are necessary for the active
maintenance and processing of information”. The working memory in L2 writing
studies show that this process carry out by our memory is related to the writing ability
and can define the proficiency of the student (Mavrou, 2018a, 2018b; Osle Ezquerra,
Authors such as (Kormos & Sáfár, 2008) show that the level of ability of an L2
student may be evidence by their level of competence and aptitude and, as (Lu, 2010;
Mavrou & Bustos-López, 2019) point out, these factors can determine if the writing
level is good. “Trade-offs between fluency and subclausal elaboration in L2 writing
have also been reported but only among low WMC learners” (Mavrou, 2018c). What
these studies do not take into account are the emotional factors that can influence
students and that can be reflected in their writing. The reason these variants are not
taken into account is because studies focused on WM are already complicated due to all
the non-mental factors involved that must be taken into account and that can affect the
results in some way (Miyake & Friedman, 2012). "Thus, correlations —or lack
thereof— between WMC assessed by these and other complex span tasks and measures
of L2 writing performance should be interpreted in light of the specific processes and
content domains that these tasks are supposed to measure” (Mavrou, 2020, p. 3).
Knowing how to deal, recognize and accept emotions is an important part of L2
students, as the Council of Europe (2018) establish in the Common European
Framework of Reference for Language that they must be on the capacity of
communicate and identify emotions in an intermediate level. However, “the role of EI
in L2 writing is admittedly less obvious (...) and findings of the few studies conducted
to date are not always comparable” (Abdolrezapour, 2013). On the report of Shao et al.
(2013) student’s performance when writing was noticeable incremented due to the
focused class activities for training their EI. The relation between EI and L2 writing can
be prove with the findings of Korpi and Farvardin’s (2016) studies which stablished that
in fact, there are properties of EI related with L2 writing and that improve this
Another study made to verify the relationship between WMC, EI and their
influence on L2 writing was the one carried out Mavrou and Bustos-López (2019) and
in which was found that students who self-assessed with a high level of emotional
intelligence obtained a lower performance in the area of writing. It was concluded that it
could be due to the students' concern to develop a quality product, as a consequence
their WM focused more on regulating their emotional side than on the production of the
What are the main findings reported in this particular study?
The level of concentration presented by the values or targeting measure,
statistically speaking, had a greater tendency in the “Emotional Stroop Task, t-units and
lexical variation”, each case corresponded to a specific variable. No variables related to
WM were found. Executive functions, the one in charge to “update the information
while modifying and replacing” (Mavrou, 2020, p. 9) was evidenced to be the main
determinant of the CAF model in L2 writing. As stated by Mavrou (2020, p. 9) the
cognitive process carried out by students to produce L2 writing involves both thinking
about grammatical rules (spelling, coherence, verb tenses) and the process of ordering
all these functions by themselves which entails a great and complex cognitive
processing "especially when the level of L2 competence is low". Therefore, it is evident
that WMC has different functions that control different types of processing, which are
shown in long-term and short-term memory. Which are important for the production of
L2 since students with an ability to update information in working memory produce
better texts, more syntactically sophisticated and with fewer errors. (Mavrou, 2020, p.
10). As Ferreira and Engelhardt (2006) affirm the ability to update long-term memory
“reduces the computational load of the grammatical encoder because the system can
start with what is already accessible and wait for other elements to be available as the
process develops. processing” (p. 83). On the contrary, a negative relationship was
found between the performance of IE and L2.
The conclusion reached is that a subjects with a greater development of the
ability to update their working memory focus more on accessing their information bank
(either short or long term) to produce better texts, leaving one side the emotional
component. While subjects with a more developed EI use to overthink what they should
do and are unable to control negative emotions such as anxiety when producing a text.
As Mavrou (2020, p. 10) mention “process of emotional information at a deeper level or
slower pace” which means that he does not develop his ability to update, therefore he
cannot use his long- and short-term memory to produce better texts.
How does the article shed light on your idea for a possible graduation project?
Although throughout the career we have discussed topics related to the cognitive
component and how the development of the mind is in people, having the knowledge
and evidence of how it actually works and how the processing varies in each user helps
to generate more interesting questions about what factors could help this process and
how it influences the development of a person who is in the process of acquiring a
second language. In this case, I was able to understand how important not only people's
mental capacity can be, but how in a certain way affective factors can influence a person
to be better or worse regardless of their degree of mental capacity. I consider that, just
as poor emotional intelligence can have a negative effect on students, which leads them
to overthink things and makes them "unable" to improve, the other intelligences, on the
other hand, could have the ability to boost it and help it to better develop your working
memory, which is something worth studying.