What Is Fluid Reasoning and Why Is It So Important?

What Is Fluid Reasoning and Why Is It So Important?


What is fluid reasoning and why is it so important to work on its development? Find out if you have good fluid reasoning skills.

Do you like challenges? Do your friends tell you that you are a creative problem-solver? Are you “street smart”? If so, it might mean that you have a high level of fluid reasoning!

But what fluid reasoning is exactly and why is it so important to work on its development?

We will answer all of these questions and even more in this article:

Let’s begin!

What Is Fluid Reasoning?

Fluid reasoning is the ability to apply logic and reasoning to a new situation, straight off the bat. It is independent of any past knowledge and includes nonverbal, sequential, quantitative, and categorical reasoning.

It is the opposite of crystallized intelligence, which is based on what we learn from past experiences, knowledge, education, and culture.

The terms fluid reasoning was first mentioned in Cattell’s theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence, back in 1963.

What is the main difference between fluid and crystallized intelligence?

As opposed to crystallized intelligence, which we use to solve problems we’ve encountered or learned about before, we use fluid reasoning when we’re facing a new challenge that we’ve never encountered before.

When you are in a new challenging situation and you can’t rely on your prior experience or knowledge, you are forced to use fluid reasoning in order to come up with a new solution.

Imagine you have a new project that requires skills and knowledge you haven’t had a chance to work on yet. What would be your strategy in this situation? How would you deal with it?

Fluid reasoning is exactly what comes into play when you can’t rely on your previous experience or knowledge. Fluid reasoning consists of creative problem solving, outside-the-box thinking, ability to reframe the situation and see it from a new perspective. It’s what makes you good at recognizing patterns and relationships between seemingly unrelated things to come up with fresh solutions to a problem.

Why Is Fluid Reasoning Important?

Why Is Fluid Reasoning Important?

Fluid reasoning is a crucial factor in a child’s cognitive development.

Children interact and experiment with their environment. Through these experiences, they gain knowledge, learn new things, master new skills, and develop new abilities.

Fluid reasoning involves observing and identifying new patterns. Learning to understand and recognize these patterns helps improve children’s ability to analyze situations, therefore, improving their performance in academics as well as in day-to-day activities.

Learning is not a spectator sport.

— Jim Kwik

Fluid Reasoning Index: What Is It?

The fluid reasoning index aims to assess and measure children’s general thinking and reasoning skills. It’s done by identifying the child’s ability to detect the underlying connections between visual objects and use reasoning to identify and follow those rules across novel settings and situations.

The WISC-V, or Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®-Fifth Edition, is one of the most frequently used assessments for children in schools worldwide. It consists of 5 components. One of the five components is the Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI).

Fluid Intelligence In Psychology

What Is Fluid Intelligence In Psychology?

Fluid reasoning is the main component of fluid intelligence.

Fluid intelligence is the ability to use fluid reasoning in novel situations. It makes you flexible and adaptable.

There is an ongoing debate among psychologists in regards to whether intelligence declines with age or not. Although research suggests that fluid intelligence is at its peak during childhood and starts to decline after adolescence, you can improve your fluid intelligence with brain training.

Fluid Reasoning Examples

In what scenarios can fluid intelligence be applied? Here are a few examples:

  • Playing a new game or solving a new puzzle such as the Rubik’s cube;
  • Solving a math or science question using a new procedure;
  • Traveling to a new city or town where you have to find your way around the streets;
  • Getting lost in an unfamiliar place;

Fluid intelligence helps us find solutions in all these situations. You use it when dealing with a novel issue for the first time.

Fluid Reasoning Skills: How Do You Develop Them?

Fluid reasoning is an important skill that can improve or decline over time, which is why it’s important to work on your abilities. Here are a few suggestions for improving your fluid reasoning skills:

  • Try new and different activities every week.
  • Immerse in an unfamiliar environment – join a new hobby group or visit a new country.
  • Ask for more verbal explanations of new concepts than visual instructions.
  • Ask successful problem solvers to verbalize their reasoning when solving a problem. This will help you understand and internalize the process.
  • Practice sorting out useful from irrelevant information when solving a problem.

Explore new ideas and activities that will challenge your brain and make it work a bit harder. This will help you achieve your intellectual capacity and upgrade your thinking and reasoning skills.

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Written by
Irina Yugay