Gender Differences in Eye Movements in Solving Text-and-Diagram Science Problems

Po Sheng Huang, Hsueh Chih Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The main purpose of this study was to examine possible gender differences in how junior high school students integrate printed texts and diagrams while solving science problems. We proposed the response style hypothesis and the spatial working memory hypothesis to explain possible gender differences in the integration process. Eye-tracking technique was used to explore these hypotheses. The results of eye-movement indices support the response style hypothesis. Compared to male students, female students spent more time and displayed more fixations in solving science problems. The female students took more time to read the print texts and compare the information between print-based texts and visual-based diagrams more frequently during the problem-solving process than the male students. However, no gender differences were found in the accuracy of their responses to the science problems or their performances in the spatial working memory task. Implications for psychological theory and educational practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-346
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1


  • Cognitive load
  • Eye movement
  • Response style
  • Spatial working memory
  • Text-diagram integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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