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17-08-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2017

Psychological Research 5/2017

A drop in performance on a fluid intelligence test due to instructed-rule mindset

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2017
Hadas ErEl, Nachshon Meiran


A ‘mindset’ is a configuration of processing resources that are made available for the task at hand as well as their suitable tuning for carrying it out. Of special interest, remote-relation abstract mindsets are introduced by activities sharing only general control processes with the task. To test the effect of a remote-relation mindset on performance on a Fluid Intelligence test (Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices, RAPM), we induced a mindset associated with little usage of executive processing by requiring participants to execute a well-defined classification rule 12 times, a manipulation known from previous work to drastically impair rule-generation performance and associated cognitive processes. In Experiment 1, this manipulation led to a drop in RAPM performance equivalent to 10.1 IQ points. No drop was observed in a General Knowledge task. In Experiment 2, a similar drop in RAPM performance was observed (equivalent to 7.9 and 9.2 IQ points) regardless if participants were pre-informed about the upcoming RAPM test. These results indicate strong (most likely, transient) adverse effects of a remote-relation mindset on test performance. They imply that although the trait of Fluid Intelligence has probably not changed, mindsets can severely distort estimates of this trait.

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