Negative mood enhances semiartificial grammar learning

Xinmiao Liu1
1School of English for Specific Purposes, Beijing Foreign Studies University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Liu, X. (2019). Negative mood enhances semiartificial grammar learning. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7776.

Volume 47 Issue 4 | e7776 | Published: April 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7776

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I investigated the effects of mood on learning grammar in a semiartificial language to better understand affective influences on foreign language learning. For this purpose, I used music to induce positive and negative moods in participants. I found that negative mood facilitated the learning of word order structures, particularly simple word order structures, but no significant effect was found on the learning of grammatical cases. Positive mood was not significantly related to learning performance. Overall, my findings suggest that negative mood enhances grammar learning, a finding that can be explained by the affect-as-information hypothesis, according to which negative mood promotes an analytical, careful, and effortful learning style. The mechanisms underlying the observed effects are discussed in relation to the use of a hypothesis-testing approach in grammar learning and in terms of learning motivations. The findings of this study have important implications for improving language learning and teaching through mood manipulation.

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