Composite Shapes


COMPOSITE SHAPES. Another feature of the game that causes visual confusion is composite shapes.

These occur when two different stencils of the same colour are placed next to each other.

In the example above, the two blue stencils merge together and appear as a single stencil.

It doesn’t matter in which order the two blue stencils are clicked, Ravioli will accept either answer; both are correct.

Composite shapes appear in Ravioli at Level 6.


Negative Space

A green octagon stencil on a black base.

NEGATIVE SPACE. What do you see? A green octagon or a black octagon?

There are a couple of features of the game that are designed to cause confusion. One of these is the use of negative space, i.e. an absence or something that isn’t there. Instead of seeing solid shapes, you’re looking at spaces created by shapes being removed. This causes confusion as your brain is trained to look for what is there, not what isn’t there. So the answer is you’re seeing a green octagon stencil on a black base.

Brain Training

BrainTrainBRAIN TRAINING. This refers to any mental exercises specifically designed to improve your short-term working memory skills. Problem-solving games and activities like crosswords, Sudoku and Ravioli are all cognitive activities that can be used to improve your working memory skills.

Meta-cognition is the study of cognition, or thinking skills. Understanding and practicing thinking skills regularly can help you to become a more effective thinker and helps keep the brain stimulated. Higher order thinking skills (HOTS) are the ones that are most valuable to humans and includes problem-solving, logical thinking and creativity.

There are two parts to solving a Ravioli puzzle: –

  • Identifying the correct stencils in the puzzle.
  • Working out the correct sequence of the stencils.

Identifying the stencils and their order is made difficult as only the top stencil is fully visible –  you can only see fragments of the underlying stencils. Using this partial information and the clues it contains, you have to put together a complete sequence of all the information to solve the puzzle.


RAVIOLIArt of Perception is a series of games designed to challenge your visual intelligence.

Ravioli is the first game in the series. It consists of bold coloured stencils, made from simple geometric shapes that overlay each other, creating colourful patterns. You analyse each pattern and decode its sequence, to identify the correct stencils in the correct order. It’s a very simple concept – but just like crossword puzzles and Sudoku, it takes a lot of brainpower to work out the solution.

The game is a modern version of an old psychological test presented in the format of a fun and challenging mobile phone game. The game is due for release on the App Store on 5th May 2016.

The game has 144 unique stencils that you learn to identify as you progress through 15 levels of complexity. All together the game contains 225 puzzles to solve, taking about 12 hours to complete.

There are two ways to play Ravioli: 

  1. As a game. Don’t worry about the score; just see if you can match the pattern on the left and complete all 225 puzzles. When you get to the end, you can restart the game and do the brain-training side of things next time around.
  2. As a brain-training tool. Read the next section to learn more about the thinking skills and brain-training within Ravioli.

Game History

Dr. Grace Arthur, a psychologist, devised the game in 1929 as part of a set of culture-free intelligence tests. These were needed to assess immigrants who couldn’t read or write English and weren’t familiar with American culture. It was successfully used by both schools and by the army, as it is suitable for all ages.

Stencil Design Test II University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection
Stencil Design Test II
University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection

The test required you to reproduce a symmetrical design using six square cards and twelve stencils made of cardboard (later plastic). In total there were 20 increasingly complex designs to be reproduced. Your score was the number of designs completed correctly within a four-minute time limit. The test was administered individually, with a psychologist observing and scoring.

In the 1980’s, another psychologist, Dr. Reuven Feuerstein, developed a pen-and-paper (representational) version of the game which made it accessible to large groups of students simultaneously. But rather than using the stencils as a tool for testing intelligence, Feuerstein used the stencils as part of a set of tools for teaching higher order thinking skills. His extensive studies showed that intelligence is not fixed, but ‘modifiable’, and that learning about meta-cognition helped students to think more effectively and perform better in intelligence tests.

Ravioli is a modern version of the test presented in the format of a fun and challenging mobile phone game.

Visual & perceptual puzzle games

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