Edited by Robert M. DeKeyser
[Journal of Second Language Studies 2:2] 2019
► pp. 336–364
The value of introspective measures in aptitude-treatment interaction research
A window on individual differences in action
To explore the value of introspective measures in aptitude-treatment interaction (ATI) research, this study analyzed the cognitive profiles and concurrent think-alouds of six university learners of Japanese who were highly successful, moderately successful, or unsuccessful under two computer-mediated feedback conditions in a larger (N = 80) quantitative ATI investigation (Sachs, 2011). That study had made indirect inferences regarding relationships among individual differences (IDs), cognitive processes, and learning on the basis of correlational results. Using Leow’s (2015) depth-of-processing (DoP) framework as a lens, what we found in the qualitative verbalization data highlighted that learners in the same condition with similar strengths in the IDs that are statistically associated with performance at the group level may nonetheless engage in different cognitive processes and achieve different learning outcomes, and vice versa. The findings also pointed toward more complex ID-DoP and ID-ID interactions that future research could explore, such as the possibility that a weakness in memory might limit the benefits of metalinguistic knowledge and analytic processing in a condition where group-level correlations suggest analysis is relevant to success, or that analytic processing might enhance the value of memory in a condition where memory is relevant to success. In our conclusions, we argue for the value of mixed-methods research in this area.