The Leuven Embedded Figures Test (L-EFT): measuring perception, intelligence or executive function?


Abstract

Performance on the Embedded Figures Test (EFT) has been interpreted as a reflection of local/global perceptual style, weak central coherence and/or field independence, as well as a measure of general intelligence and executive function. The variable ways in which EFT findings have been interpreted in the past demonstrate that the construct validity of this measure is unclear. In order to address this lack of clarity, we investigated to what extent performance on a new Embedded Figures Test (L-EFT) correlated with measures of general intelligence, executive functions and estimates of local/global perceptual styles. In addition, we compared L-EFT performance to the original group EFT to directly contrast both tasks. Taken together, our results indicate that performance on the L-EFT does not correlate strongly with estimates of local/global perceptual style, intelligence or executive functions. Additionally, the results show that performance on the L-EFT is associated less with memory span and fluid intelligence compared to the group EFT. These results suggest that the L-EFT does not reflect a more general perceptual or cognitive style/ability. These results further emphasize that empirical data on the construct validity of a task do not always align with the face validity of a task.
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