European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 337–353 | Cite as

Action control, L2 motivational self system, and motivated learning behavior in a foreign language learning context

  • Reza KhanyEmail author
  • Majid Amiri


Theoretical developments in second or foreign language motivation research have led to a better understanding of the convoluted nature of motivation in the process of language acquisition. Among these theories, action control theory has recently shown a good deal of explanatory power in second language learning contexts and in the presence of other motivation models. Despite this, the potential of this theory has not been seriously examined in foreign language contexts and its relevance to more recent motivation models has not been tested. Having this in mind, an effort was made in this study to evaluate a proposed model including three components of action control theory (hesitation, preoccupation, and volatility), three constituents of L2 motivational self system (ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and learning experience) and learners’ motivated behavior in an Iranian context. Five hundred ten Iranian high school students who studied English as a foreign language in three language institutes completed two questionnaires containing items on the dimensions of actions control theory (ACS-90), the components of L2 motivational self system and also learners’ motivated behavior. The final model demonstrated some negative impacts of hesitation, preoccupation, and volatility on learners’ motivated behavior and their L2 learning experience. Iranian learners’ ideal L2 self and L2 learning experience were found as the main motivators stimulating learners’ motivated behavior. Their ideal L2 self and volatility positively correlated with each other and there was a negative relationship between learners’ ought-to L2 self and hesitation. The study concludes with certain pedagogical implications.


Hesitation Preoccupation Volatility L2 motivational self system L2 motivated behavior Foreign language context 



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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa, Portugal and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentIlam UniversityIlamIran

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