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Inductive Reasoning

What is Inductive Reasoning?

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, explains inductive reasoning.

grey clock icon 0:52 Quickly understand inductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning (also known as abstract, logical, or non-verbal reasoning) describes an individual’s ability to draw general conclusions from specific observations or evidence. Psychometrically speaking, inductive reasoning can be considered a facet of overall general cognitive ability , and thus large cognitive ability test batteries are likely to include sub-tests which are similar to inductive reasoning tests. Inductive reasoning is closely aligned to the concept of “fluid intelligence”, a person’s ability to solve problems using only logical reasoning (and not learned knowledge). As a cognitive aptitude, inductive reasoning is also particularly language free, relying on patterns, images, and diagrams to represent questions, making them especially culture-fair.

Within the commercial space, there is little agreement between test publishers as to what constitutes an inductive reasoning test, and thus this term could refer to a wide range of different assessments. What one publisher calls inductive reasoning, another could call abstract reasoning , and vice versa. Nevertheless, there are a few common themes among inductive reasoning tests. Inductive reasoning tests all involve logical rules which alter the shape, size, colour, or layout of certain diagrams. Test takers are then required to identify these logical rules, and then choose the answer which best follows those rules. Inductive reasoning tests will almost always have a single correct answer, usually with a number of possible answers. Lastly, inductive reasoning tests tend to minimise any verbal loading, and thus should require as little reading as possible.

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