The move towards more learner-centred approaches to language education, together with the accompanying interest in the factors that make some learners more successful than others, has pushed the study of motivation into a prominent position. This has resulted in a fast-changing and expanding theoretical landscape. This chapter considers the concept of individual differences and its place in that shifting landscape. It begins with a consideration of the concept of individual differences itself before discussing how language learner motivation has been conceptualized as an individual difference. The focus then shifts to a discussion of how motivation relates to other key learner differences. The second half of the chapter explores recent critiques of an individual differences approach to theory and research in the study of the motivation to learn a foreign language, some of the methodological challenges these changes have posed, and some of the ways in which the field is responding to these challenges.
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