How to Improve Your Abstract Reasoning Skills

The only terrible to waste, as said by a great American singer, is the brain or the ability to process quality thoughts. The process entails the ingenuity to reasonably or logically compare and contrast in the business of figuring out right from wrong, weak logic from the strong ones, etc. Hence, before you are able to do this, you need to study how to improve your abstract reasoning skills no matter whether you are naturally gifted or not.

Since you are required to master some very regular habits that will help you sharpen your abstract skills of reasoning, this article becomes necessary. The concept of abstract thinking entails processing theoretical concepts by allowing people to exercise creativity, solve problems, and ruminate over complex problems.

It centers around the intangible such as thoughts, ideas, and symbols to better understand the bigger picture (anthropological, economic, political) behind events and actions.

Originally, it begins to develop during childhood and can instill lifelong critical thinking and decision-making skills just as it is often developed when reading stories, learning new ideas, and understanding situations or the root causes of anomalies.

Specifically, this type of thinking is crucial to creativity, innovation, and advanced problem-solving. It allows us to think beyond the surface level of a problem and come up with unique solutions. This can be especially important in fields such as science and technology, where new breakthroughs often require fresh perspectives and innovative thinking.

Improve Your Abstract Reasoning Skills

Below are few tips on what to do in order to master the how to improve your abstract reasoning skills:

  • Using Cognitive Approach

Abstract thinking is a cognitive process that develops over time, beginning in childhood and continuing into adulthood. During childhood, abstract thinking develops as children use the cognitive approach to learning to grasp new concepts and skills. They start to understand and manipulate abstract concepts such as numbers, time, and cause and effect. As they observe the world around them, they use what they know to make sense of what is happening and explore other possibilities.

  • Engage in New Hobby

Hobbies like painting, sculpting, and photography can help you practice abstract thinking by allowing you to explore new ideas and ways of looking at the world. These activities also require you to use your imagination and creativity to devise solutions that aren’t immediately obvious. It also makes you feel accomplished when you’re done, which can boost your confidence and make you more open to taking risks in other aspects of life.

  • Play with Figures of Speech

The ability to write similes, metaphors, analogies, and even pieces of personification can stimulate abstract thinking. Think of something concrete and relate it to something abstract: “On the day he was sentenced, rain fell continuously, as if Justice were weeping.” Or “The psychologist made a sexist remark, saying women’s minds were like bowls of spaghetti.”

  • Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely observing the present moment without judgment or bias. Practicing mindfulness can help you improve your abstract thinking by teaching you how to observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions objectively and without judgment. As you think more deeply and analytically about what’s happening in the present moment, you will further develop your abstract thinking skills.

  • Do More Exercise

Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but it can also be beneficial for your mental health. Exercise helps to increase oxygen flow to the brain, which can improve cognitive functioning and help you think more clearly. Exercise also increases the production of endorphins, which can improve your mood and make it easier to focus on what you’re doing.

  • Take Risks Often

Taking risks and engaging in activities that make you uncomfortable can help you practice abstract thinking. Stepping outside of your comfort zone forces you to think differently and create solutions to complex problems. It also requires you to push yourself beyond what is familiar and take a leap of faith as you learn new things.

  • Travel, Travel, Travel

Traveling to new places exposes you to new cultures and ways of thinking, which can help to expand your mind and improve your abstract thinking skills. Plus, when you’re in a new place, you’re forced to think on your feet as you figure out how to navigate the unfamiliar landscape. This helps to build up your problem-solving skills, which are essential for developing abstract thinking abilities.

Limitations to Abstract Thinking

While abstract thinking can be a great feature to hone and grow, it is also a sort of good that comes with its weaknesses. These weaknesses give way to conditions that can cause limitations to it. Here are them highlighted below:

  • Dementia

Often the parts of the brain involved in many types of dementia are the same parts that control abstract thinking skills.

  • Schizophrenia

Some forms of abstract thinking, particularly those involved in interpreting social situations, may be limited by schizophrenia.

  • Traumatic or Organic Brain Injuries

Injuries from accidents and prenatal exposures, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, can impact the areas of the brain that make abstract thinking possible.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researchers have found that some people with autism spectrum disorder may have trouble with concepts and problem-solving.

  • Intellectual Disabilities

Individuals with intellectual impairment often have difficulties using and understanding abstract thinking skills.

Abstract Thinking vs Concrete Thinking

Abstract and concrete thinkers take opposite approaches.

Abstract reasoning skills center around the intangible: thoughts, ideas, and symbols to better understand the bigger picture (anthropological, economic, political) behind events and actions.

Concrete reasoning involves physical objects a person can experience through the five senses—smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight.

Abstract thinking abilities would unlock the deeper meanings behind the work: how the tawny colors symbolize loss, how the tableau evokes longing.

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