Playing with fire: effects of negative mood induction and working memory on vocabulary acquisition

<p>We investigated the impact of emotions on learning vocabulary in an unfamiliar language to better understand affective influences in foreign language acquisition. Seventy native English speakers learned new vocabulary in either a negative or a neutral emotional state. Participants also completed two sets of working memory tasks to examine the potential mediating role of working memory. Results revealed that participants exposed to negative stimuli exhibited difficulty in retrieving and correctly pairing English words with Indonesian words, as reflected in a lower performance on the prompted recall tests and the free recall measure. Emotional induction did not change working memory scores from pre to post manipulation. This suggests working memory could not explain the reduced vocabulary learning in the negative group. We argue that negative mood can adversely affect language learning by suppressing aspects of native-language processing and impeding form-meaning mapping with second language words.</p>