Eye Movements in Integrating Geometric Text and Figure: Scanpaths and Given-New Effects

Wei Kuang Lee, Chao Jung Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the processes in which adult readers integrate text-figure information when reading geometric descriptions. Because geometry conveys rich spatial information, we investigated the reading scanpaths as text- or figure-directed and the given-new effects. Eye movement data from 65 college student participants showed that approximately 1% inspected the figure-first, while the other displayed the text-first which included 86% displayed the text-directed. Although the descriptions that violated the given-new ordering did not affect the accuracy of the test, they did increase reaction time, figure-fixation duration, and the number of saccades from text to figure. The transition paths showed that the participants shifted their fixations to the figure to refer to corresponding elements when they encountered new geometric elements in the text. The descriptions that violated the given-new ordering influenced the reading processes and efficiency. These findings indicate that although the readers spent 40% fixation duration on figure, their reading pattern was text-directed, and the word ordering of description affects integration of geometric text and figure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-714
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1


  • Eye movement
  • Geometric reading
  • Given-new ordering
  • Scanpath

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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