Elementary Cognitive Tasks, Task Complexity, Stimulus Discrimination, Match to Sample
Match-to-sample is a timed task in which a subject is presented with a visual stimulus (the probe) and must select a match to that stimulus (the target) from among an array of distractors. These tasks are frequently employed as tests of basic cognitive abilities and demonstrate consistent correlations with measures of intelligence. In the current study, a match-to-sample task was modified to produce near-match conditions (trials for which no exact match existed). Two factors were manipulated: type of discrepancy between the target and probe (additive or subtractive) and degree of discrepancy between target and probe (1 element or 2 elements). It was hypothesized that introducing near-match conditions would change the processing demands of the task, resulting in increased correlations between decision time and fluid intelligence. Degree and type of discrepancy affected decision times: participants required more time for 2 element discrepancies and additive type discrepancies. Contrary to expectations, increased decision time on a task did not correspond to higher correlations with fluid intelligence. For type, correlations were larger when participants needed to mentally subtract elements from the target in order to make it match the probe (mean radditive=.399; mean rsubtractive=.451). For degree, correlations were larger for trials where the probe and target differed by one element (mean r=.470) than for trials where the probe and target differed by two elements (mean r=.380). These results seem to indicate that the relationship between the complexity of a task and general intelligence is not as straightforward as has been commonly believed.
Frey, Meredith C., "The Relationship between performance in near match-to-sample tasks and fluid intelligence." (2011). Psychology Faculty Scholarship. 1.
1. Frey, M. (2011). The relationship between performance in near match-to-sample tasks and fluid intelligence. Intelligence, 39(5), 273-280. doi:10.1016/J.INTELL.2011.04.004