Abstract reasoning is usually assessed as part of intelligence testing. The abstract reasoning test is also called the conceptual or diagrammatic reasoning test because it measures the lateral thinking skills or fluid intelligence, which are abilities to quickly identify patterns, logical rules and trends in new data, integrate this information, and apply it to solve problems.
Inductive reasoning and abstract reasoning are often used interchangeably. Whilst they are slightly different tests, the concept behind both inductive and abstract reasoning is to test the candidate’s logical problem solving ability; these are a common form of aptitude assessment, after numerical and verbal reasoning. Inductive reasoning is open and explorative. It examines the applicant’s ability to reach general conclusions based on perceived patterns observed in specific events (like real-life arguments or scenarios). The most common form of inductive reasoning test involves discovering the patterns that exist in a series of graphics. The patterns are usually one of, or a combination of, the following: rotation; alternation, translation, reflection and replacement.
Inductive logic is different from deductive logic. With deductive reasoning, possible outcomes are explored and discounted in order to arrive at the only possible outcome without contradicting the given premises (e.g. Sudoku puzzles).
Abstract problems are often visual and typically do not involve social ideas. This is one major reason for their popularity and extensive use for recruitment tests; no language barrier exists as it is purely symbolic.