Unpacking the negative side-effects of directed motivational currents in L2: An interpretative phenomenological analysis


Language Teaching Research, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/13621688221125995
  • Journal Name: Language Teaching Research
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Communication & Mass Media Index, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, DIALNET
  • Keywords: affect, directed motivational currents, goal-striving, negative emotionality
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


© The Author(s) 2022.Directed motivational currents (DMCs) are portrayed as highly intense and prolonged periods of motivation oriented to a much-desired goal of personal significance. While we have seen a recent growth in studies examining aspects of DMCs, evidence on the negative side-effects of DMCs remains inadequate to date. In response to repeated calls for research into this area, we conducted a qualitative study to scrutinize the negative side-effects of DMCs as experienced by 5 trainee teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in Turkey. The database comprised in-depth, semi-structured interviews carried out twice per participant. Interview transcripts were analysed in line with the principles of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The findings suggest that the negative side-effects of DMCs manifest themselves as showing signs of a sense of inadequacy, mental distress, and feelings of sorrow. These side-effects caused temporal setbacks in sustaining goal-directed behaviors, and they resulted from varied sources such as excessive dedication towards goal achievement, occasional deviations from behavioral routines, lack of affirmative feedback on progress made, and engagement with ill-conceived subgoals. Overall, the results offer a more detailed picture of the affective properties of DMCs and add depth to the current conception of this motivational phenomenon. The results also shed some light on the potential risks of deliberately inducing DMCs in language learners for pedagogical purposes.