Some Empirical Evidence for the Involvement Load Hypothesis in Vocabulary Acquisition

Jan H. Hulstijn, Batia Laufer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


EFL learners in two countries participated in two parallel experiments testing whether retention of vocabulary acquired incidentally is contingent on amount of task-induced involvement. Short- and long-term retention often unfamiliar words was investigated in three learning tasks (reading comprehension, comprehension plus filling in target words, and composition-writing with target words) with varying "involvement loads" - various combinations of need, search, and evaluation. Time-on-task, regarded as inherent to a task, differed among all three tasks. As predicted, amount of retention was related to amount of task-induced involvement load: Retention was highest in the composition task, lower in reading plus fill-in, and lowest in the reading. These results are discussed in light of the construct of task-induced involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-558
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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