Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Abstract Reasoning

  • David HulacEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1431-2



The neuropsychological construct of abstract reasoning refers to an individual’s ability to recognize patterns and relationships of theoretical or intangible ideas. Abstract reasoning is contrary to concrete reasoning whereby an individual recognizes patterns in information obtained through the immediate senses. When thinking abstractly, an individual must be able to identify rules and apply those rules to information without the aid of empirical help or personal experience.

Abstract reasoning is most closely related to rational thought as opposed to empirical thought. While using deductive reasoning, a purely rational thinker does not look to determine the accuracy of a premise, but seeks only to understand the relationship between the premises.

An example of deductive reasoning, which requires abstract reasoning, may go like this:
  1. 1.

    Premise 1: Egypt is located in South America.

  2. 2.

    Premise 2: The Sphinx lies in Egypt.

  3. 3.

    Conclusion: The...


Frontal Lobe Logical Reasoning Learning Disability Deductive Reasoning Abstract Reasoning 
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References and Readings

  1. Goldstein, G. (2004). Abstract reasoning and problem solving in adults. In M. Hersen (Ed.), Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment, Intellectual and neuropsychological assessment (Vol. 1, pp. 293–308). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of School Psychology, College of Education and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA