Reading and Calculating in Word Problem Solving

Publikation: Beiträge in SammelwerkenAbstracts in KonferenzbändenForschungbegutachtet


  • Anselm R. Strohmaier
  • Christian Schons
  • Alina Knabbe
  • Markus Vogel
Word problem solving combines linguistic and mathematical processes, including
reading and calculating. However, it is still unclear how strongly these processes
overlap, e.g., if calculations occur parallel or serially during reading. Also, it is unclear
how much the mental representation created during reading and the mental
representation in which calculations are integrated (e.g., Thevenot et al., 2007). In the
present study, we present data from an experiment that investigated the overlap
between reading and calculating based on the observation of eye movements during
word problem solving.
We systematically varied three-line word problems by manipulating a) the lexical
difficulty of two words which were irrelevant for calculations and b) the numerical
difficulty of the word problem which was irrelevant for reading. We analyzed the mean
fixation duration, which can be interpreted as an indicator for the cognitive effort
during processing of visual information (Strohmaier et al., 2020). If processes of
reading and calculating occur serially and in delimited mental representations, the
manipulation should only affect the mean fixation duration of the varied words and
Analyses of the pilot data from N = 17 undergraduate students show that numerical
difficulty influences the mean fixation duration on numbers, but also on the remaining
text. Effects of lexical difficulty showed similar trends, but were not significant.
Based on these results and additional data, we argue that eye movements indicate that
cognitive processes of reading and calculating overlap during word problem solving
and occur in a shared mental representation.
TitelProceeding of the 46th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 1)
HerausgeberMichal Ayalon, Boris Koichu, Roza Leikin, Laurie Rubel, Michal Tabach
Anzahl der Seiten1
ErscheinungsortHaifa, Israel
VerlagUniversity of Haifa
ISBN (Print)978-965-93112-1-7
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2023
Veranstaltung46th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education - PME 2023 - University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Dauer: 16.07.202321.07.2023
Konferenznummer: 46