Vocabulary Acquisition and Task Effectiveness in Involvement Load Hypothesis: A case in Iran

Hassan Soleimani, Mahboubeh Rahmanian


Involvement load hypothesis as a cognitive construct states that tasks with higher involvements yield better results in vocabulary retention. This comparison group designed study examined the immediate and delayed effects of tasks with different involvements in involvement load hypothesis (Laufer & Hulstijn, 2001). Applying a version of Nelson Proficiency Test as a homogenizing exclusion criterion, 33 low proficiency Iranian EFL learners were randomly assigned to three experimental groups: blank-filling, sentence making, and reading comprehension. The results of ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests supported task-induced involvement in immediate posttest since the sentence making task (M=5.72) yielded better results in comparison with the other two blank-filling (M=5.45) and reading comprehension (M=3.18) tasks. Nevertheless, sentence making and blank-filling tasks of which the involvements were somehow similar did not yield significant superiority to each other. It is inferred that tasks with nearer involvements yield somehow similar results in vocabulary acquisition.



Task-induced involvement, immediate effect, delayed effect, vocabulary retention, evaluation

Full Text:



Baddeley, A. D. (1999). Essentials of human memory. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671-684.

Folse, K. (2006). The effect of type of written exercise on L2 vocabulary retention. TESOL Journal, 40, 273-293.

Hulstijn, J. H., & Laufer, B. (2001). Some empirical evidence for involvement load hypothesis in vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning, 51, 539-558.

Jing, L., & Jianbin, H. (2009). An empirical study of the involvement load hypothesis in incidental vocabulary acquisition in EFL listening. Polyglossia, 16, 1-11.

Keating, G. (2008). Task effectiveness and word learning in a second language: The involvement load hypothesis on trial. Language Teaching Research, 12 (3), 365-386.

Kim, Y. (2008). The role of task-induced involvement and learner proficiency in L2 vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning, 58 (2), 285-325.

Kim, Y. (2011). The role of task-induced involvement and learner proficiency in L2 vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning, 61 (1), 100-140.

Laufer, B., & Hulstijn, J. (2001). Incidental vocabulary acquisition in a second language: The construct of task-induced involvement. Applied Linguistics, 22 (1), 1-26.

Lee, C. (2003). The effect of involvement load on English vocabulary acquisition in an incidental learning situation (Unpublished master’s thesis). National Tsinghua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Logan, G. D., Taylor, S. E., & Etherton, J. L. (1996). Attention in the acquisition and expression of automaticity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory,and Cognition, 22, 620-638.

Martindale, C. (1991). Cognitive psychology: A neural-network approach. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks Cole.

Murdock, B. B. JR. (1967). Recent developments in short-term memory. British Journal of Psychology, 58, 421-433.

Ryan, J. (n.d.). A review of the role of output in second language acquisition with anecdotal examples from a Japanese learner’s experience. Retrieved April 11, 2013 from leo.aichi-u.ac.jp/~goken/bulletin/pdfs/NO17/RyanJ.pdf.

Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11, 129-158.

Schmidt, R. (1994). Deconstructing consciousness in search of useful definitions for applied linguistics. In J. H. Hulstijn & R. Schmidt (Eds.), Consciousness in second language learning. AILA Review,11, 11-26.

Solso, R. L. (1988). Cognitive psychology (2nd ed.). Boston, Mass.; London: Allyn and Bacon.

Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass & C. Madden (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235-253). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Swain, M. (1995). Three functions of output in second language learning. In G. Cook & B. Seidhofer (Eds.), Principles and practice in the study of language (pp. 125-144). Oxford University Press.

Titchener, E. B. (1910). A text book of psychology. New York: Macmillan.

VanPatten, B. (1990). Attending to content and form in the input: An experiment in consciousness. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 12 (3), 287–301.

Walsh, M. I. (2009). The involvement load hypothesis applied to high school learners in Japan: Measuring the effects of evaluation (Unpublished master’s thesis). Birmingham University, Edgbaston, United Kingdom.

Xu, J. (2009). An experimental study on the effects of different reading tasks on L2 vocabulary acquisition. English Language Teaching, 2, 69-76.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.5p.198


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.