Progressive Matrices (SPM) is divided into five Sets of twelve problems
(Sets A, B, C, D, and E). Each Set starts with a problem which is, as far
as possible, self-evident and develops a theme in the course of which the
problems build on the argument of what has gone before and thus become
progressively more difficult. This procedure provides the respondent with
five opportunities to become familiar with the field and method of thought
required to solve the problems. Administered in the standard way, the test
therefore provides a built-in training programme and indexes the ability
to learn from experience or learning potential". The cyclical format also
provides an opportunity to assess the consistency of a person's
intellectual activity across five successive lines of thinking. The test
length was carefully constructed to be just sufficiently long to assess a
person's maximum capacity for coherent perception and orderly judgment
without being too exhausting or unwieldy.
unfortunately proved impossible to fully retain this structure in the SPM
Plus, although it is hoped that a reasonable compromise has been reached
by retaining all the items in the first two Sets, introducing more
difficult items, and eliminating many items from the third to fifth Sets
in the original.
Sometimes it is
important to know a person's speed of accurate intellectual work, as
distinct from the total capacity for orderly thinking. As the SPM is
arranged into five Sets, each of which begins with simple problems and
grows increasingly difficult, a person's speed of intellectual work cannot
be measured from the number of problems solved in a fixed time. Use of the
SPM with an overall time limit results in an uneven and invalid
distribution of scores because some people devote a great deal of time
attempting later problems of, say, Set D while others skip over them and
greatly enhance their scores by correctly solving the easier items of Set
E. This problem can be overcome by timing each Set separately. Until
recently, this was the normal way of administering the test in Australia.
However, the procedure is cumbersome, and the desired information can be
obtained more easily using the
Advanced Progressive Matrices.
Answer Sheets for
SPM and SPM Plus
As has been
explained, the parallel versions of the CPM and SPM were developed to foil
respondents who have memorized the correct answers. To help to ensure
this, the position of the correct answer among the options on each item
differs from that in the Classic versions of the tests. This is also the
case for SPM Plus. It is therefore essential to ensure that the Answer
Sheets and/or Scoring Keys selected correspond to the test used.
The following is intended to keep you and the
rest of us on the right truck!!!
Victor Serebriakoff: Swollen Head of Mensa
Victor Serebriakoff, who ran Mensa for years, was fond of word-play. He
wrote that Mensa is “a think-link, a brain-skein round the fat world. It
is interdisciplinary, non-factional, unbiased, uncommitted, anti-racial;
and that means just one thing: it is free; a world agora, an agorasphere;
free of all constraint, free to grow into something the world needs but
does not yet know it needs …”
But what is Mensa really? It is an international club that admits
anyone who scores in the top two percent of IQ tests. Reading Mensa
materials, it becomes evident that outside of occasional dating
opportunities at local meetings, it is virtually nothing. The organization
vaguely supports gifted child programs, but other than that it is
basically a bunch of backpatting buttscratchers. The world does not yet
know that it needs Mensa. It never will.
organization was born of the same post-WWII optimism for the power of
thought and amity to change the world that produced the United Nations.
But unlike that parlous and frequently futile organization, Mensa has
accomplished nothing whatsoever. Mensa makes a point of not taking any
positions as an institution because members cannot agree on anything.
Even, or perhaps especially, the question of what constitutes intelligence
is avoided. They leave the whole thing to the testing experts, discredited
as they might be, and chop off the bottom 98 percent. A group that can’t
even agree on its criteria for membership thinks it will save the world.
Famous Mensans include a former president of Ford, a professional
domino toppler, the actress Geena Davis, the cartoonist Mel Lazarus, the
authors of What Color is Your Parachute and of Clan of the Cave
Bear, and a Florida judge nicknamed “Maximum Morphonios” for her harsh
rulings. Now there’s a motley brain trust to rule the world. It is not
surprising to find Mensans online debating the clarion call of Ayn Rand,
the validity of memes, and the relationship of God to alien civilizations.
But, most fittingly, the thing that really seems to unite Mensans is a
devotion to “brain teasers,” puzzles that are the basis of the tests that
Serebriakoff was by all accounts an amusing fellow. He was by
profession a timber man who introduced the metric system to British
sawmills and developed a computerized system for the quality control of
lumber grading. His magnum opus in the field of lumber was British
Sawmill Practice, and it remains a scintillating read.
Serebriakoff early felt the sting of being an egghead. “I was chased
home from school every day because I was the kid who put his hand up at
every question,” he recalled. After he tested high on an Army intelligence
test during WWII he was assigned to train recruits in the teaching corps.
Still enamored of his smart-alec ways in later years, he published a book
titled The Future of Intelligence in 1987. Predicting the future of
humanity he wrote, “The next plateau will be a stable, durable biosphere
on the earth supporting a world culture which, not at the command of some
central control, but because of its polyhedric inner dynamic, pushes on up
the improbability and negentropy slopes toward more intelligent people,
societies, and artifacts.” He meant, essentially, that people would become
smarter and richer, the world would become peaceful, more integrated and
less polluted, and there would be a lot of cool stuff around for people to
play with. It would be a utopian ecological technocracy heaven.
Serebriakoff actually included an appendix of neologisms and unusual words
in his book. How irritating.
He continued: “In the very long term I see contact with other
intelligences, competition, strife, then cooperation and a resumption of
expansion along the continuum.” But there was a negative scenario too:
otherwise, “This biosphere will be just one more seed that fell on rock.”
It was like an agglomeration of Carl Sagan and the Star Wars movies.
Apart from Serebriakoff’s maunderings in the domain of the future, his
leadership of Mensa was crucial to the organization’s institutional
success, such as it is. The first meeting he went to, in 1950, had an
attendance of four, including his wife. Founded a few years earlier by the
eccentric Roland Berrill as the “High IQ Club,” membership had plummeted
because Berrill tended to represent his eccentric views to the press as
those of the organization as a whole. Once Serebriakoff was in place,
Mensa ceased to take positions and downplayed its original mission of
advising governments. He contacted universities and the press, and Mensa
began to grow. Today it claims a global membership of at least 100,000
with local chapters in dozens of countries.
“This is the question Mensa asks itself again and again,” he wrote.
“Now we’ve got it, what are we going to do with it?” He never found an
answer, and it is doubtful that Mensa will either, now that he is gone.
They will continue to meet, discuss a multitude of issues, and dispute the
history of the organization. (Sir Cyril Burt, notorious today for faking
intelligence studies of identical twins separated at birth, was the first
president. He wrote the foreword to Serebriakoff’s 1963 history of Mensa.)
Even though Mensa often functions as a sort of dating service for high
scorers, Serebriakoff took no position on whether the intelligent should
try to mate with each other. “You have to realize you’re also saying dim
people will be left only with other dim people to marry – and is that
desirable?” he pointed out in 1964. “Of course nobody can think straight
on the subject because sooner or later Hitler’s name comes up, and then
all thinking stops.”
Serebriakoff died at age 87; his own I.Q. had been tested at 161 –