What is Perceptual Reasoning?

What is perceptual reasoning? Perceptual reasoning measures the subject’s ability to find relationships between non verbal stimuli and as well as testing their reasoning skills. It is considered to be a useful indicator of general intelligence and problem solving skills.

The PPM Perceptual Reasoning test is one of a series of power and performance measures (PPM) tests. Perceptual reasoning is also one of the four components of intelligence measured as part of a Weschler Intelligence Scale IQ test; the other three are verbal comprehension, working memory and processing speed. The perceptual reasoning index in an IQ test is comprised of five sub-tests including matrix reasoning, visual puzzles, block design, picture completion and figure weights.

Matrix reasoning: non verbal abstract problem solving, spatial reasoning and inductive reasoning
Visual puzzles: non verbal reasoning
Block design: spatial perception, visual constructional ability and visual spatial reasoning
Picture completion: a supplemental test measuring the attention to visual detail
Figure weights: a supplemental test measuring quantitative and analogical reasoning

The measurement of perceptual reasoning as part of an intelligence test is sometimes used for the assessment of patients with psychiatric illness or brain injury as it can give an indication as to the level of cognitive function. Some neuropsychologists use intelligence tests to assess the level of brain damage in patients as the test results can provide a useful indication as to which areas of the brain are affected.

IQ tests incorporating perceptual reasoning are also used to assess the cognitive ability in children. There are different tests for different age groups, but all are designed to provide scores for each individual component as well as a composite score overall. The end result will enable an educational psychologist to assess the child’s general intellectual ability.

Why would a perceptual reasoning and IQ test be recommended as a course of action for a child?

IQ tests are often recommended as part of a more comprehensive psycho educational assessment program for a child who is struggling with age appropriate tasks or who shows inconsistencies in their educational performance.

What does it mean if my child is assessed as having superior perceptual reasoning skills?

Children and adults with superior perceptual reasoning skills are considered to be above average in their non verbal communication skills. They are able to learn about the world around them by picking up information and clues from images or from observation. Talented children who demonstrate a high level of perceptual reasoning can be helped to boost their brain power with the aid of picture puzzles, color imagery collages, photo activities and image inference activities.

What special skills do adults who score high in perceptual reasoning tests have?

Unlike verbal comprehension tests, perceptual reasoning is unaffected by educational background. People with high perceptual reasoning tend to be very good at assembling furniture and other objects, map reading, drawing designs and locating objects at home or in the office. Contrastingly, people who demonstrate low perceptual reasoning scores often have problems driving from one location to another, estimating distances, drawing accurate designs and assembling objects.

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