The Role of Visuospatial Ability in the Raven's Progressive Matrices
Nicolette A. Waschl, Ted Nettelbeck, and Nicholas R. Burns
School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, SA, Australia
Debate surrounding the role of visuospatial ability in performance on the Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) has existed since their conception. This issue has yet to be adequately resolved, and may have implications regarding sex differences in scores. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the relationship between RPM performance, visuospatial ability and fluid ability, and any sex differences in these relationships. Data were obtained from three samples: two University samples completed the Advanced RPM and one population-based sample of men completed the Standard RPM. All samples additionally completed an alternative measure of fluid ability, and one or more measures of visuospatial ability. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships between performance on the visuospatial and fluid ability tests and performance on the RPM. Visuospatial ability was found to significantly contribute to performance on the RPM, over and above fluid ability, supporting the contention that visuospatial ability is involved in RPM performance. No sex differences were found in this relationship, although sex differences in visuospatial ability may explain sex differences in RPM scores.
Keywords: Raven's Progressive Matrices, fluid ability, visuospatial ability, sex differences
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