Gabe Chierchia, UCL
Our research focuses on social, cognitive and affective development during adolescence. For example, we investigate how age modulates susceptibility to social and peer influence, training of different cognitive abilities, and mental health. This typically involves comparing large groups of people of different ages, such as adolescents and young adults. In addition, these groups must also be evaluated for basic cognitive abilities such as non-verbal reasoning, which are also known to change with age and thus need to be controlled for independent of the task of interest. Some of the challenges this research faces are that 1) copyright issues of well-validated non-verbal reasoning tasks frequently prevent these from being computerized and this limits their usefulness in a number of settings; 2) recruiting and testing large samples of adolescents in their schools; and 3) allowing plausibility of experiments involving social interaction. I will present the Matrix Reasoning Item Bank (or MaRs-IB). This is a novel item bank we developed that is now online (Gorilla open materials), and free to use for non-commercial purposes. I’ll show how the MaRs-IB is sensitive to age differences in non-verbal reasoning accuracy and, relative to its pen-and-paper analogues, it further allows capturing potential speed-accuracy trade-offs in reasoning. I will also discuss how online/on-site testing has greatly helped making recruitment and testing more efficient and social experiments more plausible to the participants.