Matrix inductive reasoning has been a popular research topic due to its claimed relationship with the general factor of intelligence. In this research, four subabilities were identified: working memory, rule induction, rule application, and figure detection. This quantitative study examined the relationship between these four subabilites and students' general ability to solve Matrix Reasoning problems. Using tests developed for this research to measure the identified subabilities, the data were collected from 334 Chinese students aged from 12 to 15. Structural equation modeling method was used to analyze the collected data and to evaluate the hypothesized models. Results from the analysis showed that a valid model existed to represent the construct of matrix inductive reasoning. Except for figural detection ability, the other three subabilities had significant direct effects on matrix inductive reasoning ability. Readers should interpret from this result with caution due to the unsatisfactory reliability of the Figure Detection scores. To improve the validity of the interpretation, a new model without the latent variable of figure detection was reexamined. In this analysis, significant relationships still existed from the three subablities to matrix inductive reasoning ability. The strongest relationship existed from working memory ability to matrix reasoning ability, with a standardized coefficient of .52. Effects from rule induction and rule application ability to matrix reasoning dropped to .36 and .34 respectively. These results suggested the important role of working memory on solving inductive reasoning problems. In addition, a significant and substantial indirect path was found that lead from working memory to rule induction to rule application to matrix reasoning. The indirect path indicated that a process existed when students solved Matrix Reasoning tasks.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Matrix Inductive Reasoning, Structural Equation Modeling, MPLUS, Rule Induction, Rule Application, Working Memory, Figure Detection