Conference Paper Shared Territory: Making Room For Emotion And Cognition In Applied Linguistics

Paper presented at the fourth combined conference of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA), the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand (ALANZ) and the Association for Language Testing and Assessment of Australia and New Zealand (ALTAANZ), The University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.
In applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, research into the role and nature of cognition in language acquisition and linguistic experience has long taken center stage. Meanwhile, the notion of affect has been quietly lurking in the shadows, barely noticed and little explored. This dichotomous perception of cognition and emotion needs to be addressed and their intertwined and inseparable nature recognized and explored. In support of such a move, Bown and White (2010) emphasize the necessity of cognition to make sense of emotion whilst, at the same time, recognizing that human reasoning and thinking are naturally guided by emotional experience. Further, emotions need to be perceived as being more than just an individualistic and introverted experience, but as “socially constructed acts that can mediate one’s thinking” (Imai, 2010, p. 280). This presentation will discuss the dual perspectives from which cognition and emotion have traditionally been viewed within the field of applied linguistics as well as in broader educational psychology, and will then present a case for moving beyond this bifurcation of the psychological concepts of cognitive capacity and emotional experience in educational research and practice to see them as inseparable ideas. At its core, the presentation will forge the idea that language learners and speakers need to be viewed as more than solely creatures of cognition – but as the incredibly complex, emotion-fuelled individuals they are.

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