Raven's Progressive Matrices

# Raven's Progressive Matrices

Discussion
 Ask a question about 'Raven's Progressive Matrices' Start a new discussion about 'Raven's Progressive Matrices' Answer questions from other users Full Discussion Forum

Encyclopedia
Raven's Progressive Matrices (often referred to simply as Raven's Matrices) are non-verbal multiple choice
Multiple choice
Multiple choice is a form of assessment in which respondents are asked to select the best possible answer out of the choices from a list. The multiple choice format is most frequently used in educational testing, in market research, and in elections-- when a person chooses between multiple...

measures of the reasoning (or, better, "meaning-making") component of Spearman's
Charles Spearman
Charles Edward Spearman, FRS was an English psychologist known for work in statistics, as a pioneer of factor analysis, and for Spearman's rank correlation coefficient...

g , which is often referred to as general intelligence
General intelligence
General intelligence may refer to:* general intelligence factor in psychology* Intelligence* strong AI, an artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence...

. The tests were originally developed by John C. Raven
John C. Raven
John Carlyle Raven was born in London on 28 June 1902 and died in Dumfries, Scotland, on 10 August 1970.J. C. Raven’s interest in psychology developed at an early age...

in 1936. In each test item, the subject is asked to identify the missing element that completes a pattern. Many patterns are presented in the form of a 4x4, 3x3, or 2x2 matrix
Matrix (mathematics)
In mathematics, a matrix is a rectangular array of numbers, symbols, or expressions. The individual items in a matrix are called its elements or entries. An example of a matrix with six elements isMatrices of the same size can be added or subtracted element by element...

, giving the test its name.

## Versions

The Matrices are available in three different forms for participants of different ability:
• Standard Progressive Matrices: These were the original form of the matrices, first published in 1938. The booklet comprises five sets (A to E) of 12 items each (e.g., A1 through A12), with items within a set becoming increasingly difficult, requiring ever greater cognitive capacity to encode and analyze information. All items are presented in black ink on a white background.
• Coloured Progressive Matrices: Designed for younger children, the elderly, and people with moderate or severe learning difficulties
Developmental disability
Developmental disability is a term used in the United States and Canada to describe lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18. It is not synonymous with "developmental delay" which is often a consequence of a temporary illness or trauma during...

, this test contains sets A and B from the standard matrices, with a further set of 12 items inserted between the two, as set Ab. Most items are presented on a coloured background to make the test visually stimulating for participants. However the very last few items in set B are presented as black-on-white; in this way, if a subject exceeds the tester's expectations, transition to sets C, D, and E of the standard matrices is eased.
• Advanced Progressive Matrices: The advanced form of the matrices contains 48 items, presented as one set of 12 (set I), and another of 36 (set II). Items are again presented in black ink on a white background, and become increasingly difficult as progress is made through each set. These items are appropriate for adults and adolescents of above-average intelligence.

In addition, "parallel" forms of the standard and coloured progressive matrices were published in 1998. This was to address the problem of the Raven's Matrices being too well-known in the general population. Items in the parallel tests have been constructed so that average solution rates to each question are identical for the classic and parallel versions. A revised version of the SPM - the Standard Progressive Matrices Plus - was published at the same time. This was based on the "parallel" version but, although the test was the same length, it had more difficult items in order to restore the discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

that the original SPM had among more able adolescents and young adults when it was first published. This new test, developed with the aid of better sampling arrangements and developments in the procedures available to implement Item Response Theory
Item response theory
In psychometrics, item response theory also known as latent trait theory, strong true score theory, or modern mental test theory, is a paradigm for the design, analysis, and scoring of tests, questionnaires, and similar instruments measuring abilities, attitudes, or other variables. It is based...

, has turned out to have exemplary test properties.

J. C. Raven first published his Progressive Matrices in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

in 1938. His three sons established Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

-based test publisher J C Raven Ltd. in 1972. In 2004, Harcourt Assessment, Inc.
Harcourt Assessment
Harcourt Assessment was a company that published and distributed educational and psychological assessment tools and therapy resources and provided educational assessment and data management services for national, state, district and local assessments...

a division of Harcourt Education acquired J C Raven Ltd. Harcourt was later acquired by Pearson PLC
Pearson PLC
Pearson plc is a global media and education company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is both the largest education company and the largest book publisher in the world, with consumer imprints including Penguin, Dorling Kindersley and Ladybird...

The Triple Nine Society
Triple Nine Society
The Triple Nine Society , founded in 1978, is a voluntary association of individuals who have scored at or above the 99.9th percentile on specific IQ tests under supervised conditions, which generally correlates to an IQ of 149 or greater...

, a high IQ society
High IQ society
A high IQ society is an organization that limits its membership to people who are within a certain high percentile of Intelligence quotient test results. The oldest, largest and best-known such society is Mensa International, which was founded by Roland Berrill and Dr. Lancelot Ware in 1946...

, accepts the Advanced Progressive Matrices form for one of their admission tests. They require a score of at least 32 out of 36 on or before December 31, 1999 on the RAPM. The International Society for Philosophical Enquiry
International Society for Philosophical Enquiry
The International Society for Philosophical Enquiry is a global scientific and philosophical high IQ society founded in 1974. ISPE is dedicated to advanced enquiry, original research and original contributions. Members harness their abilities to enhance the growth and development of enlightened...

(ISPE) similarly accepts the RAPM as a qualification for admission.

## Underlying factors

Raven's Progressive Matrices and Vocabulary tests were originally developed for use in research into the genetic and environmental origins of “cognitive ability”. Raven felt that the tests commonly in use at that time were cumbersome to administer and the results difficult to interpret. Accordingly he set about developing simple measures of the two main components of Spearman's
Charles Spearman
Charles Edward Spearman, FRS was an English psychologist known for work in statistics, as a pioneer of factor analysis, and for Spearman's rank correlation coefficient...

g (which is often wrongly equated with general intelligence
General intelligence
General intelligence may refer to:* general intelligence factor in psychology* Intelligence* strong AI, an artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence...

). These two components are (1) the ability to think clearly and make sense of complexity, which is known as eductive ability (from the Latin root "educere", meaning "to draw out") and (2) the ability to store and reproduce information, known as reproductive ability.

Raven’s tests of both were developed with the aid of what later became known as Item Response Theory
Item response theory
In psychometrics, item response theory also known as latent trait theory, strong true score theory, or modern mental test theory, is a paradigm for the design, analysis, and scoring of tests, questionnaires, and similar instruments measuring abilities, attitudes, or other variables. It is based...

.

## Uses of the tests

Although the tests were developed for research purposes, because of their independence of language and reading and writing skills, and the simplicity of their use and interpretation, they quickly found widespread practical application. For example, all entrants to the British armed forces from 1942 onwards took a 20 minute version of the SPM. The routine administration of what became the Standard Progressive Matrices to all entrants (conscripts) to many military services throughout the world (including the Soviet Union) continued at least until the present century. It was by bringing together these data that Jim Flynn was able to place the intergenerational increase in scores beyond reasonable doubt. Although this has become known as the Flynn Effect
Flynn effect
The Flynn effect is the name given to a substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world. When intelligence quotient tests are initially standardized using a sample of test-takers, by convention the average of the test results is set to 100...

it had, in fact, been noted earlier by, among others, Robert L. Thorndike  working with the Stanford Binet test and John Raven with the RPM.)

Another extremely important application of the tests in research was the Minnesota Twin Family Study
Minnesota Twin Family Study
The Minnesota Twin Family Study is a longitudinal study of twins conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. It seeks to identify the genetic and environmental influences on the development of psychological traits....

which established the first reliable estimates of the heritability of g.

Attention should, however, be drawn to the social and political importance of an observation emerging from apparently low-level studies conducted to generate separate reference data (norms) for many countries and ethnic groups throughout the world. Because the RPM has impeccable test properties that are confirmed in study after study within these groups, it has ceased to be possible to attribute differences between ethnic groups to “test bias”. The explanation has to be sought elsewhere. And the implications for such things as educational and social policy are dramatic.

A 2007 study provided evidence that individuals with Asperger syndrome
Asperger syndrome
Asperger's syndrome that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development...

, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, score higher than other individuals on Raven's tests. Another 2007 study provided evidence that individuals with classic autism
Autism
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their...

, a low-functioning autism spectrum disorder, score higher in Raven's tests than in Wechsler tests