The Effect of Taboo Content on Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition in a Foreign Language: A Facial Expression Analysis Study

Abstract: This study aims to examine how taboo content affects language learner psychology and language learning gains in a multi-modal learning environment by using facial expression analysis. 40 Muslim language learners were initially asked about their opinions on pork and watched a subtitled cooking video including pork visuals and their facial expressions were recorded. Before watching the video, only 20 of them were told it was lamb. The video was followed by a stimulated recall procedure, a cloze test and an output test. The results of the facial data analysis showed that Muslim learners were disgusted by the taboo content, which was in line with their opinions on pork taboo. However, this negative emotion did not significantly affect their test performance. Computer assisted facial expression analysis was also introduced as a biometric research technique for second language research.

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