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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


BLUM, G. Diego et al. Figural analogies: Theory and construction of items. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2011, vol.28, n.1, pp.131-144. ISSN 1668-7027.

This paper describes the conceptual and operational bases of analogical problem - solving tests, placing emphasis on figural analogies. The importance of the study of such a hypothetical construct to the understanding of intellectual capacity is briefly outlined. The significance of the construct in relation to mental development and individual maturation from childhood to adulthood is also explained in a concise way. Theoretical considerations about analogical reasoning are quoted and the fundamental characteristics and cognitive mechanisms involved in the resolution of figural matrix items are described. In this respect, the nature of relations and correlations between relations of figures is elucidated taking into account the A:B::C:D proportional model which has been researched by psychometrists since the beginning of the 20th Century. This model suggests the existence of two pairs of relations between elements, where element A is to element B as element C is to a missing element D (Figure 2). Items created on the basis of this structure usually contain given answers, only one of which is correct. On the other hand, linkages are established with contributions from experts defending the cognitive perspective of the study of analogical reasoning, and also with General Psychology schools like Gestalt and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligence. Finally, an ideal framework for the creation of 2 x 2 figural matrices that can measure analogical reasoning is intended to be provided. With the purpose of reducing item bias, six essential suggestions for the preparation and administration of items are offered. These suggestions are: (1) the constructor should consider the double resolution pathway of a proportional analogy (horizontal as well as vertical, i.e. A:B::C:D and A:C::B:D). In doing so, the probability of generating non-controlled rules of analogical relation to one of these pathways will be reduced. These accidental rules correspond to resolution logics different from those chosen by the designer, therefore affecting item manipulation and control. (2) Strongly related to the latter, given that each rule or combination of rules creates one different resolution strategy, each proportional analogy item should incorporate only one of these strategies to be applied horizontally as well as vertically. (3) Given that one or more rules may be used for the same item, a few rules are more than enough to prepare a large group of strategies and, therefore, a large item bank. Also, it is possible to take into account n strategies to produce nk items, being k the number of items apparently different from each other that nevertheless share the same resolution strategy. (4) Items that can be solved by applying ways of reasoning different from those of the proportional analogies should not be constructed. For instance, the designer should not allow superficial comparisons among some matching attributes of the item as a problem solving method, since this procedure does not require the consideration of the whole matrix structure (Gestalt's) which should serve as a basis for the analogical reasoning task. Therefore, pairing analogies should be rejected as they allow for this kind of resolution pathways (e.g. matching circle C with circle D2 in the 4th item of Figure 2, without taking into account the other matrix figures). (5) Alternative responses should contain one clearly correct answer to be discovered by using only analogical reasoning; wrong answers should not replace the correct one just because they are more appropriate considering alternative non-pretended ways of reasoning; all alternatives should share similarities and be distributed on a random basis. (6) The bias arising from administration conditions should be taken into account, including the possible verbal contamination during completion of this non-verbal test.

Palabras clave : Figural analogies; Non verbal abstract test; Matrices test; A:B::C:D analogy; Non-deductive reasoning.

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