Morishima, Y.

Allocation of Limited Cognitive Resources During Text Comprehension in a
Second Language

Discourse Processes



For native (L1) comprehenders, lower-level language processes such as
lexical access and parsing are considered to consume few cognitive
resources. In contrast, these processes pose considerable demands for
second-language (L2) comprehenders. Two reading-time experiments employing
inconsistency detection found that English learners did not detect an
inconsistency unless contradicting parts were adjacent. This suggests that
the text memory that L2 comprehenders can access online is an immediately
preceding sentence. This makes a sharp contrast with the finding of
previous research that L1 comprehenders appeared to retrieve an earlier
portion that was several sentences away. A third experiment with probe
verification suggested that L2 participants did not reactivate prior text
information when reading the contradicting sentence following an
intervening sentence. These results provide evidence for the limited
resource allocation for discourse-level processes in L2 comprehension. The
results are discussed based on the two-stage model that consists of the
resonance and integration processes.

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