Do Adults Treat Equivalent Fractions Equally? Adults' Strategies and Errors During Fraction Reasoning

Charles J. Fitzsimmons, Clarissa A. Thompson, Pooja G. Sidney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding fraction magnitudes is important for achievement and in daily life. However, adults' fraction reasoning sometimes appears to reflect whole number bias and other times reflects accurate reasoning. In the current experiments, we examined how contextual factors and individual differences in executive functioning (Experiment 1), knowledge of fraction equivalence (both experiments), and strategy use (Experiment 2) influenced adults' fraction reasoning. Adults were only biased by fraction components when reasoning about fractions as holistic magnitudes was difficult: when estimating under a time constraint, when estimating fractions with large components, or when comparing fractions close in decimal distance. However, adults' knowledge of fraction equivalence moderated the effects of whole number components on their fraction estimation performance: when modeled at low levels of equivalence knowledge, adults were biased by fraction components when estimating. Adults with more knowledge of fraction equivalence were able to reason about fractions as holistic magnitudes through adaptive strategy choices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Adaptive strategy use
  • Fraction reasoning
  • Fraction representations
  • Strategies
  • Whole number bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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