Solution of division by access to multiplication: Evidence from eye tracking


People report solving division problems by mentally recasting division problems as multiplication (e.g., 72 ÷ 8 to 8 × [?] = 72). Mediation of division by multiplication occurs mainly on larger problems. Eye tracking data was used to determine whether patterns of gaze durations on division problems provided support for mediation. Adults solved division problems in two formats: traditional (e.g., 72 ÷ 8 = [ ]) and recasted (e.g. 72 = 8 × [ ]). Processing of individual problem elements was compared across formats. Results provide support for mediation. Processing patterns for traditionally-formatted problems were more similar to those for traditional division in earlier work (72 ÷ 8) whereas problems in recasted format (72 = 8 × [ ]) were more similar to patterns found when participants solved multiplication problems (e.g., 8 × 9). These findings provide a novel source of support for differential processing of problems across presentation formats.

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