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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 July 2008

Melissa A. Bowles*
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Melissa A. Bowles, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, 4080 Foreign Languages Building, MC-176, 707 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801; e-mail:


Despite the frequency with which verbal reports are used in SLA to gather data on learners' cognitive processes (e.g., Bowles, 2003, 2004; Mackey, Gass, & McDonough, 2000; Rosa & Leow, 2004a, 2004b), only two studies (Bowles & Leow, 2005; Leow & Morgan-Short, 2004) have investigated verbal reports' reactivity (i.e., whether they alter cognitive processes) during second language (L2) reading. This is the first study to investigate the reactivity of verbal reports on a L2 problem-solving task. First-semester learners of Spanish were assigned to one of six experimental conditions, which differed in terms of the type of verbalization (i.e., metalinguistic, nonmetalinguistic, or silent) and the type of feedback (i.e., implicit vs. explicit). Results show that metalinguistic verbalization significantly increased time on task and also hindered participants' ability to produce exemplars of the target structure seen during the experimental task. However, neither type of verbalization significantly affected participants' ability to produce novel exemplars of the target structure, and there was no interaction between verbalization and feedback.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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