The Ladder of Inference: Avoiding "Jumping to Conclusions"


The Ladder of Inference helps the user to learn to get back to the facts and use his or her beliefs and experiences to positive effect, rather than allowing them to narrow your field of judgment. Following this step-by-step reasoning can lead users to better results, based on reality by avoiding unnecessary mistakes and conflict. The Ladder of Inference describes the thinking process that we go through, usually without realizing it, to get from a fact to a decision or action. The Ladder of Inference was first put forward by organizational psychologist Chris Argyris and used by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.


  • Introduction
  • Understanding the Theory
  • How to Use the Theory: Tip 1, Tip 2 and Tip 3
  • Example
  • Infographic
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The MindTools Editorial Team: James Manktelow, Elizabeth Eyre, Keith Jackson, Liz Cook, Steven Edwards and Bhanu Khan

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Ladder of Inference

The Ladder of Inference Creates Bad Judgment

Rethinking thinking - Trevor Maber