The impact of cognitive load on students’ academic writing: an authorship verification investigation

Eduardo Oliveira, Paula Galvao de Barba

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Automatic authorship verification is known to be a challenging machine learning task. In this paper, we examine the efficacy of an enhanced common n-gram profile-based approach to assist educational institutions to validate students' essays and assignments through their writing styles. We investigated the impact that essays with different cognitive load requirements have in students' writing styles, which may or may not impact authorship verification methods. A total of 46 undergraduate students completed six essays in a laboratory study. Although results showed small and mixed effects of the tasks differing in cognitive load on the different writing product metrics, students' essays and assignments texts contained features that remained stable across essays requiring different levels of cognitive load. These results suggest that our approach could be successfully used in authorship verification, potentially helping to address issues related to academic integrity in higher education settings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASCILITE 2022: Reconnecting relationships through technology
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 39th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education
EditorsS. Wilson, N. Arthars, D. Wardak, P. Yeoman, E. Kalman, D.Y.T. Liu
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education 2022: Reconnecting relationships through technology - The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 4 Dec 20227 Dec 2022
Conference number: 39th


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education 2022
Abbreviated titleASCILITE 2022
Internet address


  • academic integrity
  • authorship verification
  • writing analytics
  • learning analytics
  • stylometry
  • cognitive load

Cite this