Saturday, May 21, 2005

Clinical interpreation of figural Gf matrices - a "radical" cross-battery idea

Matrices tests are frequently used as primary markers of fluid intelligence (Gf) and are often included in short/brief IQ screening batteries. And, as we know from the CHC taxonomy, the reasoning involved in different measures may invoke different types of reasoning or combinations of reasoning (viz., induction-I; general sequential [deductive] reasoning-RQ; quantitative reasoning-RQ).

Astute clinicians often attempt to ascertain if an individual’s pattern of successes and failures on different item types (within the same Gf test) are systematic and suggestive of differential strengths and weaknesses within Gf.

Two studies (one previously published in Intelligence and one “in press”) suggest an interesting framework by which to analyze the task demands of figural Gf items, regardless of I, RQ, RQ demands. The framework is briefly summarized below. Those interested in the empirical studies, and the successful use of this framework in the development of an automatic figural matrices item generatator, are encouraged to read the original articles (Primi, 2001 citation can be found in Arendasy & Sommer, 2005—listed below).

  • Arendasy, M., & Sommer, M. (2005). The effect of different types of perceptual manipulations on the dimensionality of automatically generated figural matrices. Intelligence, In Press, Corrected Proof.

According to Primi, and described by Arendasy and Sommer, the component processes of figural Gf matrices can be dissected as per four main item design features (called “radicals”). These include:

  • Number of elements
  • Number of rules
  • Type of rules
  • Perceptual organization.

According to recent research, the first two radicals are associated with the amount of information that has to be stored and processed in working memory (MW), and thus, may contribute to the explanation of the strong, positive, and significant relation between Gf and MW. Embretson (1998, 2002) has also associated the type of rules with working memory capacity--more difficult rules seem to put a heavier demand on the working memory capacity than easier rules. [See prior post for more MW->Gf discussion].

Finally, the perceptual organization features of figural matrices have been studied the least. This feature category involves: (a) perceptual features of the elements of the figural matrices and (b) the impact of the Gestalt perceptual principles of proximity, similarity, common region and continuity (Rock & Palmer, 1990; Wertheimer, 1923).

Interesting stuff…don’t you all think? To me, from my table in the corner of Barnes and Nobles on a Saturday night in St. Cloud, Mn, might this suggest yet another set of dimensions by which Gf (figural) matrices tests might be analyzed in order to understand why individuals may perform differently on tests that, on face value, appear to measure the same abilities with the same general class of items?

Might CHC cross-battery principles be extended to yet another level (for this class of Gf tests) via the analysis and classification of figural Gf matrices as per these radicals [don’t you love that word?---it brings me back to the 70s’]? Inquiring minds (at least one in central MN) want to know. Dawn and Sam…what say you?

So many ideas and data…so little time. I need more caffeine.

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