Comparing Patterns of Errors on the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test: Strategy Differences Among Typically Developing Individuals, Individuals with Autism, and Computational Models

Recent studies of the Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM) test have shown differences in both behavior and neural activity between individuals with autism and typically developing (TD) individuals. We hypothesize that these effects stem from differences in the cognitive strategies used by each group. In particular, fMRI data suggests that individuals with autism might use more visually oriented strategies, whereas TD controls may use more verbally oriented strategies. These data are consistent with computational accounts of the behavior of TD individuals on the RPM, which suggest that they convert perceptual inputs of test images into propositional representations. However, our recent computational models have proposed that purely visual strategies that reason directly on perceptual inputs can also be successful on the RPM. The objective of this study was to investigate differences in patterns of incorrect answers on the RPM chosen by TD individuals versus individuals with autism, and to compare these human data with data from our visual affine algorithm.