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Current and Potential Cognitive Development in Healthy Children: A New Approach to Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices


In clinical practice and research, Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPMs) continue to be used according to a single procedure that aims to evaluate a single overall score of the current general intelligence level. This study aimed to examine potential cognitive development in a sample of 450 typically developing children, aged from 6 to 10 years, by administering RCPMs according to the standard procedure followed immediately by a standardized interview on incorrect items. In addition, the study aimed to analyze how performance differed across age groups. The results analysis was examined on the basis of three different factors in which the items were grouped in previous factorial studies. The results found that performance improved markedly and significantly after the interview; however, the improvement was not homogeneous in the three factors across age groups or within each age group. The age groups showed a different development potential in relation to the nature of the task: the younger ones showed a greater increase on items requiring figure completion, and the older ones showed a greater increase on analogical reasoning items. Finally, the children who showed the greatest improvement were those with the best performance in standard RCPM administration. The procedure described in the present research could represent a useful tool in clinical practice and in the research for a broader cognitive assessment focused on potential cognitive development, as well as on real cognitive development, and to favor the planning of more adequate rehabilitation and educational treatments.