Strategy Use on Bounded and Unbounded Number Lines in Typically Developing Adults and Adults With Dyscalculia: An Eye-Tracking Study


  • Fae Aimée van der Weijden Orcid
  • Erica Kamphorst Orcid
  • Robin Hella Willemsen
  • Evelyn H. Kroesbergen
  • Anne H. van Hoogmoed Orcid


Recent research suggests that bounded number line tasks, often used to measure number sense, measure proportion estimation instead of pure number estimation. The latter is thought to be measured in recently developed unbounded number line tasks. Children with dyscalculia use less mature strategies on unbounded number lines than typically developing children. In this qualitative study, we explored strategy use in bounded and unbounded number lines in adults with (N = 8) and without dyscalculia (N = 8). Our aim was to gain more detailed insights into strategy use. Differences in accuracy and strategy use between individuals with and without dyscalculia on both number lines may enhance our understanding of the underlying deficits in individuals with dyscalculia. We combined eye-tracking and Cued Retrospective Reporting (CRR) to identify strategies on a detailed level. Strategy use and performance were highly similar in adults with and without dyscalculia on both number lines, which implies that adults with dyscalculia may have partly overcome their deficits in number sense. New strategies and additional steps and tools used to solve number lines were identified, such as the use of the previous target number. We provide gaze patterns and descriptions of strategies that give important first insights into new strategies. These newly defined strategies give a more in-depth view on how individuals approach a number lines task, and these should be taken into account when studying number estimations, especially when using the unbounded number line.