ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (12): 1949-1965.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01949

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


徐楚言, 朱麟, 王芸萍, 王瑞冰, 刘聪慧()   

  1. 中国人民大学心理学系, 北京 100872
  • 收稿日期:2022-12-23 发布日期:2023-10-16 出版日期:2023-12-25
  • 通讯作者: 刘聪慧, E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

The effect of foreign language speaking anxiety on the quality of verbal interaction: A fNIRS-based hyperscanning study

XU Chuyan, ZHU Lin, WANG Yunping, WANG Ruibing, LIU Conghui()   

  1. Department of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2022-12-23 Online:2023-10-16 Published:2023-12-25


外语口语焦虑是影响言语互动的重要因素。本研究使用功能性近红外成像超扫描(Hyperscanning)技术, 通过两个实验探究了中英双语者在英语和汉语故事叙述任务中, 口语焦虑对言语互动双方的行为和大脑活动模式的影响, 实验1没有评价性压力, 实验2包含评价性压力。两个实验一致发现:(1) 英语任务中(相较于汉语)存在更强的口语焦虑, 更低的言语互动质量; (2) 相较于汉语, 英语任务中每对被试左侧缘上回、左侧颞中回和左侧额极的脑间同步性显著减弱; (3) 在英语任务中, 左侧缘上回的脑间同步性与口语焦虑呈显著负相关、与言语互动质量呈显著正相关, 且口语焦虑通过左侧缘上回脑间同步性的部分中介作用影响言语互动质量。本研究的结果表明焦虑情绪对言语互动存在负面的影响, 而且这种影响可以通过大脑的同步性得以实现。

关键词: 外语口语焦虑, 言语互动质量, 脑间活动同步性, 功能近红外光谱技术, 超扫描技术


Foreign language speaking anxiety is one of the important factors affecting foreign language communication. Fear of negative evaluation is the key factor that induces foreign language speaking anxiety. Many studies have found that foreign language speaking anxiety can negatively affect the quality of verbal interaction through questionnaires and behavioral methods. Yet, few have investigated the brain mechanism of such influence. Therefore, we set up real English communication scene and used fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) hyperscanning technique to further investigate relative brain mechanism.

A total of 126 Chinese college students were recruited for two experiments. Participants were randomly paired (participant 1 and participant 2) and were asked to finish two storytelling tasks (English vs. Chinese) in turn in both experiments, with fNIRS recording their brain activities simultaneously. Specifically, 24 sequentially numbered pictures formed a complete story, participant 1 received pictures with odd numbers, and participants 2 received pictures with even numbers. During the task, one participant would tell the story of the current round, while the other need to listen carefully, and then both of them would complete the foreign language speaking anxiety scale and continued the story. The turn-taking process went on till the end of the story. The interaction quality was evaluated by two experimenter assistants on a seven-point Likert scale. In Experiment 2, participants were informed in advance that they will be evaluated after the task. This is the only difference between the two experiments, which aimed to rise participants’ fear of negative evaluation. Through this process, we intended to explore the effect of external evaluation on the degree of foreign language anxiety on behavior and neural levels.

Two experiments obtained consistent results: (1) the participants had significant foreign language speaking anxiety in the English task (compared to Chinese), and their verbal interaction quality was also lower; (2) it was found that the Interpersonal Neural Synchronization (INS) of the left supramarginal gyrus and the left middle temporal gyrus was significantly weakened in each pair of participants in the English task. And weakened INS was also found in the left frontal pole; (3) in the English task, the INS of the left supramarginal gyrus was significantly negatively correlated with foreign language speaking anxiety, and significantly positively correlated with the self-rated verbal interaction quality. Foreign language speaking anxiety affected the quality of verbal interaction through a partial mediating effect of the INS of the left supramarginal gyrus; (4) external evaluation caused higher anxiety but didn’t influence the interaction quality. The above consistent results also show that even with the addition of an evaluation component, the effects of foreign language speaking anxiety on verbal interaction quality on behavioral indicators and INS remain unchanged.

The results of this study suggests that foreign language speaking anxiety negatively affected the INS of brain regions involved in language and theory of mind. Our findings provide evidence of neural synchronization for understanding foreign language anxiety and verbal interaction and provide a theoretical basis for relieving foreign language speaking anxiety and improving foreign language communication quality.

Key words: foreign language speaking anxiety, the quality of verbal interaction, interpersonal neural synchronization, fNIRS, hyperscanning