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Exploring the Relationship Between Modified Output and Working Memory Capacity


  • The authors would like to thank Harriet Wood Bowden, Kara Morgan-Short, Nina Moreno, and Takako Egi for their assistance with this article. We would also like to thank Robert DeKeyser and the anonymous Language Learning reviewers for their insightful comments. Any mistakes, however, are our own.

 Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Alison Mackey, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057. Internet:


This study examines the relationship between learners’ production of modified output and their working memory (WM) capacity. The task-based interactions of 42 college-level, native English-speaking learners of Spanish as a foreign language were examined. A relationship was found between learners’ WM test scores and their tendency to modify output. Specifically, greater processing capacity was related to greater production of modified output during interaction.