Nav: Home

UC psychologists devise free test for measuring intelligence

October 29, 2018

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices, or APM, is a widely used standardized test to measure reasoning ability, often administered to undergraduate students. One drawback, however, is that the test, which has been in use for about 80 years, takes 40 to 60 minutes to complete. Another is that the test kit and answer sheets can cost hundreds of dollars, this amount increasing with more people taking the test.

A team of psychologists at UC Riverside and UC Irvine has now developed a highly comparable free test that takes roughly 10 minutes to complete. Called the University of California Matrix Reasoning Task, or UCMRT, the user-friendly test measures abstract problem-solving ability and works on tablets and other mobile devices.

The researchers report in the journal Behavior Research Methods that UCMRT, which they tested on 713 undergraduate students at UC Riverside and UC Irvine, is a reliable and valid measure of nonverbal problem solving that predicts academic proficiency and measures "fluid intelligence" -- intelligence that is not dependent on pre-existing knowledge and is linked to reasoning and problem solving. Like APM, the test differentiates among people at the high end of intellectual ability. Compared to APM, the UCMRT offers three alternate versions, allowing the test to be used three times by the same user.

"Performance on UCMRT correlated with a math test, college GPA, as well as college admissions test scores," said Anja Pahor, a postdoctoral researcher who designed UCMRT's problems and works at both UC campuses. "Perhaps the greatest advantage of UCMRT is its short administration time. Further, it is self-administrable, allowing for remote testing. Log files instantly provide the number of problems solved correctly, incorrectly, or skipped, which is easily understandable for researchers, clinicians, and users. Unlike standard paper and pencil tests, UCMRT provides insight into problem-solving patterns and reaction times."

Along with many psychologists using Raven's APM, Pahor and her co-authors -- UCR's Aaron R. Seitz and Trevor Stavropoulos; and UCI's Susanne M. Jaeggi -- realized that APM is not well suited for their studies given its cost, the time it takes to complete the test, and a lack of alternative, cross-validated forms in which participants are confronted with novel questions each time they take the test. So, the psychologists opted to create their own version of the test.

"UCMRT predicts standardized test scores better than Raven's APM," said Seitz, a professor of psychology, director of the Brain Game Center at UCR, and Pahor's mentor. "Intelligence tests are big-money operations. Companies that create the tests often levy a hefty charge for their use, an impediment to doing research. Our test, available for free, levels the playing field for a vast number of researchers interested in using it. We are already working to make UCMRT better than it already is. Technology has changed over the decades that APM has been around, and people's expectations have changed accordingly. It's important to have tests that reflect these changes and respond in a timely manner to them."

Pahor said UCMRT has only 23 problems for users to solve (APM, in contrast, has 36), yet delivers measurements that are as good as those from APM. 

"Of the 713 students who took UCMRT, about 230 students took both tests," she said. "UCMRT correlates with APM about as well as APM correlates with itself."

Researchers interested in using the test may contact Pahor at anjap@ucr.edu. They would be asked to download an app either in Google Play or iTunes and can start administering it immediately. Data from the tests are stored on the device itself and on a secure server.

Jaeggi, who also mentors Pahor and is an associate professor in the School of Education at UCI where she leads the Working Memory and Plasticity Laboratory, adds, "The way we set up and designed UCMRT allows the inclusion of variants that can be used for populations across the lifespan from young children to older adults. The problems we designed are visually appealing, making it easy to motivate participants to complete the task. Furthermore, there are minimal verbal instructions and participants can figure out what to do by completing the practice problems."

Although UCMRT instructions are currently in English, the test can be easily localized to include relevant translations, Seitz said.

"We are motivated by helping the scientific community and want to create versions of UCMRT for different age groups and abilities," he added. "This test could help with early intervention programs. We are already working on a project with California State University at San Bernardino to move forward with that."

UCMRT is largely based on matrix problems generated by Sandia National Laboratories. Most of the test's matrices are inspired by those produced by the lab. Stavropoulos at the UCR Brain Game Center programmed UCMRT's problems.
-end-
Jaeggi has a courtesy appointment in the cognitive sciences department at the UCI School of Social Sciences and is a fellow at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

The research was supported by grants awarded to UCR and UCI from the National Institute of Mental Health, and another grant awarded to UCI from the National Institute on Aging.

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is now nearly 23,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

University of California - Riverside

Related Intelligence Articles:

Artificial intelligence can help some businesses but may not work for others
The temptation for businesses to use artificial intelligence and other technology to improve performance, drive down labor costs, and better the bottom line is understandable.
Artificial intelligence for very young brains
Montreal's CHU Sainte-Justine children's hospital and the ÉTS engineering school pool their expertise to develop an innovative new technology for the segmentation of neonatal brain images.
Putting artificial intelligence to work in the lab
An Australian-German collaboration has demonstrated fully-autonomous SPM operation, applying artificial intelligence and deep learning to remove the need for constant human supervision.
Composing new proteins with artificial intelligence
Scientists have long studied how to improve proteins or design new ones.
Artificial intelligence and family medicine: Better together
Researcher at the University of Houston are encouraging family medicine physicians to actively engage in the development and evolution of artificial intelligence to open new horizons that make AI more effective, equitable and pervasive.
Artificial Intelligence to improve the precision of mammograms
The Artificial Intelligence techniques, used in combination with evaluations by expert radiologists, improve the precision in the detection of cancer through mammograms.
Using artificial intelligence to assess ulcerative colitis
Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have developed an artificial intelligence system with a deep neural network that can effectively evaluate endoscopic data from patients with ulcerative colitis, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, without the need for biopsy collection.
Artificial intelligence yields new antibiotic
Using a machine-learning algorithm, MIT researchers have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound.
Artificial intelligence is becoming sustainable!
A research group from Politecnico di Milano has developed a new computing circuit that can execute advanced operations, typical of neural networks for artificial intelligence, in one single operation.
MRI predict intelligence levels in children?
A group of researchers from the Skoltech Center for Computational and Data-Intensive Science and Engineering (CDISE) took 4th place in the international MRI-based adolescent intelligence prediction competition.
More Intelligence News and Intelligence Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.