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Abstract Thinking - What is Abstract Thinking?

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Updated June 07, 2014

Girls working together on school work in classroom
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Definition: Abstract thinking is the ability to process ideas that involve complex visual or language-based ideas that are not easily associated with concrete ideas. Abstract ideas are often invisible, complex, and subjective. Concrete ideas are usually visible and objective. For example, justice is an abstract concept; while a police officer is a concrete idea.

Abstract thinking is essential at higher levels of thinking such as in those described in the Bloom Taxonomy.

Examples:
Abstract thinking skills are important in the study of subjects such as applied math, sciences, and social studies.

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