Ladder of Inference


Based on observable data and creates an assumption.

Looking for further data to support the assumption.


Also called the Process of Abstraction.

Thought process used to move from fact to decision or action.

  1. Reality and facts presented to self.
  2. Create an experience for self based on our beliefs and experiences.
  3. Create interpretation of what it means to self.
  4. Apply assumptions to interpreted reality.
  5. Form conclusions based on first four steps.
  6. Form beliefs based on conclusions
  7. Act upon beliefs, based on what self believes.

Can create a cycle where our beliefs determine how we observe our reality, missing facts, and jumping to conclusions.


Mind Tools Editorial Team. (n.d.). Ladder of Inference. In Mind Tools. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from

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