Eye gaze patterns reveal how we reason about fractions

Thinking and Reasoning 24 (4):445-468 (2017)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTFractions are defined by numerical relationships, and comparing two fractions’ magnitudes requires within-fraction and/or between-fraction relational comparisons. To better understand how individuals spontaneously reason about fractions, we collected eye-tracking data while they performed a fraction comparison task with conditions that promoted or obstructed different types of comparisons. We found evidence for both componential and holistic processing in this mixed-pairs task, consistent with the hybrid theory of fraction representation. Additionally, making within-fraction eye movements on trials that promoted a between-fraction comparison strategy was associated with slower responses. Finally, participants who performed better on a non-numerical test of reasoning took longer to respond to the most difficult fraction trials, which suggests that those who had greater facility with non-numerical reasoning attended more to numerical relationships. These findings extend pri...

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