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

  • Po-Sheng Huang
  • Hsueh-Chih ChenEmail author


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.


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



This research is partially supported by the “Aim for the Top University Project” and “Center of Learning Technology for Chinese” of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, R.O.C., and the “International Research-Intensive Center of Excellence Program” of NTNU and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, R.O.C., under grant no. NSC 97-2511-S-003-035-MY2. The authors would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Prof. Larry Yore and Shari Yore for their assistance in the conceptual and technical revision of this article.


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hsuan Chuang UniversityHsinchu CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Educational Psychology and CounselingNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipei CityRepublic of China

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