Intuitive Statistics: Identifying Children’s Data Comparison Strategies using Eye Tracking

Bradley MorrisKent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA
Patrick CravalhoKent State University, Kent, Ohio, United States
Angela JunglenKent State University, Kent
Christopher WasKent State University, Kent
Amy MasnickHofstra University

Abstract

People often compare sets of numbers informally, in considering prices or sports performance. Children who lack knowledge of formal comparison strategies (e.g., statistics) may use intuitive strategies like estimation that create summary values with approximations of means and variance. There were two goals for this experiment: (1) to classify data comparison strategies and (2) to evaluate whether children’s strategy discovery and selection is effective. Using eye tracking, we identified strategies used by 41 8-12-year-old children when comparing number sets, by examining how the properties of the data sets (e.g., mean ratios and variance) influenced accuracy and confidence in differences. We classified strategies from eye tracking patterns; these strategies were associated with different levels of accuracy, and strategy selection was adaptive in that selection was related to the statistical properties of the sets being compared. The results demonstrate that children are quite adept at informally comparing data sets and adaptively select strategies to match the properties of the sets themselves.

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Intuitive Statistics: Identifying Children’s Data Comparison Strategies using Eye Tracking (337 KB)



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