Reasoning on the Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices Test with Iconic Visual Representations

Although the problems on Raven’s Progressive Matrices intelligence tests resemble geometric analogies, studies of human behavior suggest the existence of two qualitatively distinct types of strategies: verbal strategies that use propositional representations and visual strategies that use iconic representations. However, all prior computational models implemented to solve these tests have modeled only verbal strategies: they translate problems into purely propositional representations. We examine here the other half of what may be a dual-process mechanism of reasoning in humans: visual strategies that use iconic representations. In particular, we present two different algorithms that use iconic visual representations to address problems found on the Advanced Progressive Matrices test, the best of which yields performances at levels equivalent to the 75th percentile for human test takers aged from 20 to 62 years-old. We discuss implications of our work for understanding the computational nature of Raven’s and visual analogy in problem solving.