image of The influence of linguistic and cognitive background on word stress processing in an unknown language
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Individual differences in working memory and musical aptitude, as well as task complexity are crucial in predicting the performance of word stress perception in a second language (L2). The present study investigated the interactive effects of these factors with the listeners’ first language. French and German listeners, both without knowledge of Spanish, performed stress-related tasks in Spanish, as well as musical and working memory tests in their L1. Besides confirming the impact of L1, our findings better define the influence of working memory and musical aptitude on L2 stress perception by specifically tapping into the central executive component of working memory, objectively assessing musical aptitude, and considering task complexity as a moderating factor in the relationship between the inter-individual factors and L2 stress perception. Our findings are also the first to demonstrate task-specific performance differences between French and German listeners, possibly reflecting differential cognitive and perceptual mechanisms depending on L1.


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