Children’s and Adults’ Math Attitudes Are Differentiated by Number Type

Pooja G. Sidney, Clarissa A. Thompson, Charles Fitzsimmons, Jennifer M. Taber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


People’s attitudes toward mathematics are multifaceted. Across four studies, we found that children and adults have different attitudes about mathematics when asked specifically about whole numbers, as opposed to fractions. The vast majority of children and adults reported negative attitudes toward fractions despite having positive attitudes toward whole numbers. Across both children and adults, the difference in fraction and whole-number attitudes was present across levels of math achievement, indicating that it was not just participants who were worse at math whose attitudes differed by number type. These findings may have important implications for how children and adults engage with numerical information when presented as fractions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Attitudes
  • fractions
  • individual differences
  • integrated theory of whole number and fractions development
  • mathematics attitudes
  • mathematics education
  • whole number bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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