Eye-tracking methodology in mathematics education research: A systematic literature review

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


Eye tracking is an increasingly popular method in mathematics education. While the technology has greatly evolved in recent years, there is a debate about the specific benefits that eye tracking offers and about the kinds of insights it may allow. The aim of this review is to contribute to this discussion by providing a comprehensive overview of the use of eye tracking in mathematics education research. We reviewed 161 eye-tracking studies published between 1921 and 2018 to assess what domains and topics were addressed, how the method was used, and how eye movements were related to mathematical thinking and learning. The results show that most studies were in the domain of numbers and arithmetic, but that a large variety of other areas of mathematics education research was investigated as well. We identify a need to report more methodological details in eye-tracking studies and to be more critical about how to gather, analyze, and interpret eye-tracking data. In conclusion, eye tracking seemed particularly beneficial for studying processes rather than outcomes, for revealing mental representations, and for assessing subconscious aspects of mathematical thinking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)147-200
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Mathematics - cognitive processes, Eye movements, Eye tracking, Mathematics education, numerical cognition