Individual Differences and L2 Motivation: The case of EFL Learners

Azam Badrkoohi, Parviz Maftoon


With the growing understanding of the process of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), more and more emphasis has been put on the learner factors that affect the success or otherwise of SLA. These factors have come to be studied under the general title of “Individual Differences” (ID) (Dörnyei & Ryan, 2015). These factors determine not only the success of an individual second language learner but also the inter-individual variation in second language acquisition. This study is an attempt to shed more light on the relationships among L2 motivation, visual learning style, mental imagery, ideal L2 self, and L2 learning experience in the Iranian context. Exploratory factor analysis was run to ascertain the validity of the questionnaire which was used for data collection. The results revealed that visual learning had its highest correlation with L2 motivation. On the other hand, it had only small to moderate correlations with ideal L2 self, mental imagery, and L2 learning experience. In addition, from among the variables investigated in this study, L2 motivation had the largest correlation with L2 learning experience. Furthermore, the ideal L2 self had the second highest positive correlation with L2 motivation. Finally, mental imagery had the lowest correlation with L2 motivation. The implications of the findings for theory and practice are discussed accordingly.



Individual differences, L2 motivation, English as a foreign language

Full Text:



Al-Shehri, A. S. (2009). Motivation and vision: The relation between the ideal L2 self, imagination and visual style. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda. (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp.164-171). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Arnold, J., Puchta, H., & Rinvolucri, M. (2007). Imagine that! with CD-ROM/audio CD: Mental imagery in the EFL classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Sorensen, C., & Razavieh, A. (2011). Introduction to research in education. Canada: Wadsworth.

Brown, H. D. (2000). Principles of language teaching and learning (4th ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Celcia-Murcia, M. (2001). Teaching English as a second or foreign language (3rd ed.). NY: Dewey Publishing Services.

Dai, Y., Wu, Z., & Dai, L. (2015). The relationships among motivation, learning styles and english proficiency in EFL music students. International Journal of English Linguistics, 5(6), 75-83.

Dornyei, Z. (1998). Motivation in Second and Foreign Language Learning, Language Teaching, 31,117-135.

Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009).The L2 motivational self-system. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 9-42). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Dörnyei, Z., & Chan, L. (2013). Motivation and vision: An analysis of future L2 self-images, sensory styles, and imagery capacity across two target languages. Language Learning, 63(3), 437-462.

Dörnyei, Z., Csizér, K., & Németh, N. (2006). Motivation, language attitudes and globalization: A Hungarian perspective. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Dörnyei, Z., & Kubanyiova, M. (2014). Motivating learners, motivating teachers: Building vision in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ryan, S. (2015). The psychology of the language learner revisited. London: Routledge.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2009). Motivation, language identities and the L2 self: future research direction. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 350-356). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Gardner, R.C. (2001). Integrative motivation and second language acquisition. In Z. Dörnyei & R. Schmidt (Eds.), Motivation and second language acquisition (pp. 1-20). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Ghaedi, Z., & Jam, B. (2014). Relationship between learning styles and motivation for higher education in EFL Students. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(6), 1232-1243.

Higgins, E.T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94, 319-340.

Ifenthaler, D., & Lehmann, T. (2012). Preactional Self-Regulation as a Tool for Successful Problem Solving and Learning. Technology, Instruction, Cognition & Learning, 9.108-118.

Lightbown, P.M. & Spada, N. (2013) How Languages are Learned (4th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Modell, A.H. (2003). Imagination and the meaningful brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Muir, C., & Dörnyei, Z. (2013). Directed motivational currents: Using vision to create effective motivational pathways. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 3(3), 357-375.

Pallant, J. (2007). SPSS survival manual: a step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Papi, M. (2010). The L2 motivational self system, L2 anxiety, and motivated behavior: A structural equation modeling approach. System, 38, 467-479.

Papi, M., & Abdollahzadeh, E. (2012). Teacher motivational practice, student motivation, and possible L2 selves: An examination in the Iranian EFL context. Language Learning, 62(2), 571-594.

Taghuchi, T., Magid, M., & Papi, M. (2009). The L2 motivational self-system amongst Chinese and Japanese learners of English: A comparative study. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 66-97). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Tai, F. M. (2013). Adult EFL students' preferred learning styles and motivation. The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning, 9(2), 161-172.

Weinberg, R. (2008). Does imagery work? Effects on performance and mental skills. Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity, 3(1), 1-21.

You, C., & Chan, L. (2015). The dynamics of l2 imagery in future motivational self-guides. In Z. Dörnyei, P. MacIntyre, & A. Henry (Eds.), Motivational dynamics in language learning (pp.213-230). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

You, C. J., Dörnyei, Z., & Csizér, K. (2016). Motivation, vision, and gender: A survey of learners of English in China. Language Learning, 66(1), 94-123.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2012-2020 (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.