Visual-spatial intelligence refers to a person’s ability to imagine a space or location in three dimensions and orient himself spatially. Here, we will go into the depth of what this concept involves and understand the nuances of the same.
Did You Know?
Along with visual-spatial intelligence, Gardner also proposed the existence of other intelligences which include, linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligence.
Visual-spatial intelligence highlights a person’s ability and capacity to understand, remember, and recall the spatial relations among objects, to think in terms of images, and to orient oneself spatially. This form of intelligence features as one of the 8 intelligences in Howard Gardner’s groundbreaking theory of multiple intelligences (1983).
In the following PsycholoGenie article, we will understand the varied nuances of this form of intelligence, what it involves, and how to go about developing the same.
Howard Gardner, in his work ‘Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences’, defines visual-spatial intelligence as the ability to perceive the visual world accurately, to perform transformations and modifications upon one’s initial perceptions, and to be able to re-create aspects of ones visual experience, even in the absence of relevant physical stimuli.
The Workings of the Concept
Have you ever been in the company of someone who’s really good with directions? Or how about, while you’re trying to make sense of a map, he/she has not only found the place, but is already en route to the destination? And don’t you just envy the ease with which some people are able to draw? All these traits feature as some of the most common traits of people who have a very high visual-spatial intelligence.
So what does spatial intelligence mean? Visual-spatial intelligence refers to the ability to visualize and represent the outer world in your mind and replicate those images in the exact way that they feature. It is the ability to place yourself in a space and visualize everything as it is, even in the absence of the stimuli. People who possess this form of intelligence can, for example, think of a location or a space that they are not in, and replicate its spatial qualities just by memory. And when they do replicate the space, they are able to do so in a 3-dimensional format. Moreover, they can think in terms of space and how they relate to it, like a fly sitting on the wall and observing things, if you may.
People who possess this intelligence are also able to graphically represent their spatial and visual ideas. They love color, shapes, and different objects and are able to relate to the world in terms of these.
The following are certain typical traits and characteristics of people who possess this form of intelligence.
► People who possess a high visual-spatial intelligence are very good with directions. They can read maps very efficiently and are rarely lost as far as directions and locations are concerned.
► They are keenly interested in many forms of art like painting, drawing, and sculpting.
► They are also good at arts and crafts and other design works.
► They are good at solving puzzles.
► They can remember the places once visited, the details of that space and location very vividly.
► They are interested in photography and they love to read and write.
► They are good at interpreting graphs, charts, and pictures.
► They like to take things apart and study the workings of the same.
► They are mechanically adept.
► They have a good sense of parts to whole.
► They love books which have pictorial representations in them.
► They are quick in noticing and appreciating colors, different shapes, and objects.
► They are more easily able to remember in the picture form.
► They often tend to speak quite fast.
► They use metaphors quite commonly in their speech.
► They take to doodling in their texts.
► They like to watch videos while they are listening to songs.
► They are prone to having vivid dreams.
There are certain people who possess a very high level of this form of intelligence. These include architects, painters, chess players, artists, sculptors, designers, graphic artists, filmmakers, cartographers, illusionists, navigators, theoretical physicists, war strategists, artists, engineers, interior decorators, photographers, fashion designers, sailors, guides, surveyors, and pilots.
How to Improve Spatial Intelligence
The benefits of spatial and visual intelligence are many and they can be inculcated with the help of these activities.
► Take up mind-mapping and make it a point to draw your goals and course of actions in the form of diagrams and charts.
► Create videos and watch them.
► Take lots of photographs in different locations.
► Use different, colored markers, highlighters, and post-it notes to highlight information.
► Doodle on books while studying.
► Imagine yourself (or someone else) from all directions―from the top angle, side angle, low angle, etc.
► Imagine yourself going in and out of different buildings, roaming through the corridors and gardens.
► Use computer-aided graphics.
► Take the time to not only write, but illustrate stories as well.
► Practice calligraphy.
► From memory, draw a map of a familiar space and area; like your workplace or house.
► Travel to work by a different route.
► Visit art galleries and watch movies.
► Take up drawing and painting classes.
► Focus in on a color and notice the places where the color occurs, how it contrasts with things and how it complements other colors, the emotion it creates in people and the like.
► When talking to someone over the phone, create a mental image of the person you are talking to, imagine how and where they are―are they sitting or are they standing, are they in the drawing room or in the balcony.
Visual-spatial intelligence allows you to view things in a whole new dimension, increasing your capacity at the varied traits and skills that have been discussed above. With the methods provided for increasing this intelligence form, you should be able to inculcate the same.