My Recent and Current Research: Studies in Psycholinguistics Field
The main focus of my research in the psycholinguistics field has been learners' motivation and Willingness to Communicate (WTC) in a globalizing world, where the nature of L2 identities and motivation in language learning is changing. In this short report, I would like to summarize the main findings of my recent studies, and the current on-going research.
WTC generates a driving force within a learner to look for opportunities to use the target language. Higher WTC is generally associated with higher frequency of communication, which leads to higher proficiency. Therefore, WTC is a very important factor in the language acquisition process.
In a mixed-methods experimental study, I presented the most comprehensive WTC model to date (figure above), integrating various cognitive, affective, and motivational variables (Munezane, 2013-a). This sudy was partially based on the preliminary results I reported in the book chapter in Munezane (2013-b). The structural relationships yielded new perspectives on learners' WTC, particularly the new finding that the ideal L2 self, (learner's future vision as an ideal L2 user, with personal agreeableness and professional success, Dornyei, 2005) was found to be the second significant predictor (β= .45) of L2 WTC. It suggests that the learners who imagine more of their self-actualizing future selves using English as proficient speakers are more willing to communicate in an L2.
Based on this finding, I tested the relative effects of visualization (triggering ideal L2 selves) and goal-setting on enhancing WTC. The ANCOVA results suggested that the visualization treatment alone was not effective in enhancing learners' L2 WTC. However, when visualization was combined with goal setting, the increase in learners' L2 WTC was significantly larger, compared to the visualization group, and by implication, significantly larger compared to the nontreatment group (Munezane, 2015). In this way, for the first time in the field, I suggested a possible way to enhance WTC in the classroom.
As I mentioned above, WTC is generally associated with higher L2 use (MacIntyre et al, 1998). However, it had not been empirically tested. Therefore, I attempted to fill this gap by investigating to what degree learners' self-reported L2 WTC predicts actual L2 use in the classroom (Munezane, 2016). The results of structural equation modelling analyses suggested that self-reported L2 WTC predicted actual L2 use in the classroom (β= .68).
In this rapidly globalizing, multicultural world, learners' levels of intercultural communicative competence may greatly influence the amount of time and efforts learners invest in language learning. Under this circumstance, the ultimate objective of second language learning should shift from communicative competence to intercultural communicative competence (Byram, Holmes, & Savvides, 2013). Therefore, I've been planning and conducting new research to connect WTC studies to studies in intercultural communication, aspiring to present a model for possible classroom application, and to present actual lesson plans to enhance intercultural communicative competence in the language classroom.
Byram, M., Holmes, P., & Savvides, N. (2013). Intercultural communicative competence in foreign language education: questions of theory, practice and research. The Language Learning Journal, 41(3). 251-253.
Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. New York, NY: Routledge.
MacIntyre, P. D., Clément, R., Dörnyei, Z., & Noels, K. A. (1998). Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in a L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. The Modern Language Journal, 82, 545-562.
Munezane, Y. (2013-a). Attitudes, affect and ideal L2 self as predictors of willingness to communicate. EUROSLA Yearbook 13, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 176-198.
Munezane, Y. (2013-b). Motivation, ideal self, and valuing of global English (pp. 152-168). In M. Apple, Silva, D. D. & Fellner, T. (Eds.), Language learning motivation in Japan. Bristol, England; Multilingual Matters.
Munezane, Y. (2015). Enhancing willingness to communicate: Relative effects of visualization and goal-setting. Modern Language Journal, 99(1), 175-191.
Munezane, Y. (2016). Motivation, ideal self and willingness to communicate as the predictors of observed L2 use in the classroom. EUROSLA Yearbook 16, John Benjamins, 85-115