Why People Fail on the Fluid Intelligence Tests

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Abstract

The study examined the patterns of errors in a specially designed test of analogical reasoning. The results indicated that those patterns strongly depended on participants’ ability level that was measured by another two fluid intelligence tests. Relatively good reasoners made analogy-making errors primarily resulting from not binding a single relational element to the complete solution. This fact indicates that they properly carried out a reasoning process, but missed just one reasoning step. In contrast, poor reasoners more often chose erroneous options that missed several relational elements, but were perceptually similar to target analogs, what suggests that those reasoners did not follow the necessary rules. Moreover, the reasoning scores of poor reasoners depended more strongly on measures of working memory capacity than did scores of good reasoners. The results are interpreted in terms of several seminal theories of fluid intelligence.

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