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Visual-spatial Intelligence

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The ability to accurately perceive the visual world and to re-create, manipulate and modify aspects of one's perceptions (even in the absence of the relevant visual  stimuli).  Visual-spatial intelligence deals with shapes, patterns, designs and the entire spectrum of colour -  and with the placement and relationship of objects in space, including distance and direction.  It includes our capacity to visualise, dream and imagine.






Drawing, painting & art appreciation.


Photography and video.




Spot the difference puzzles.


May be good at ball-games.

Pot holing.

Rally driving.

Video games

Chess (if also Logical).

Orienteering (if also Naturalist).

Bird-watching (if also Naturalist).

Flower arranging (if also Naturalist).

Gardening (if also Naturalist).

Paint-balling (if also Physical).

Juggling (if also Physical)





Attention to visual detail.




Good visual imagination.


Spatial awareness.


Good sense of direction.


Good colour sense.


Can read maps.


May doodle or Mind-Map.


May be good driver.


May have vivid dreams.





Stephen Wiltshire (an autistic person with little use of language and few interpersonal skills) is nevertheless a skilled drawer with a prodigious visual memory such that he can draw buildings (his favourite subject) from memory, having seen them only briefly. He has an astonishing mastery of perspective.


Cezanne (impressionist artist)


M C Escher (lithographer & graphic artist)


Claude Monet (impressionist)


Milton Glaser (poster designer)


Oscar Reutersvard (Swedish artist)


Sandro Del Prete (Swiss artist)


Shigeo Fukuda (Japanese illusion artist)





Watch TV programmes or videos on the topic being studied.


If possible, choose books with lots of illustrations (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.).


Use Mind Maps.


Draw flow-charts.


Illustrate your notes.


Draw relevant doodles in the margins of note-books.


Use coloured marker pens to highlight significant information (use different colours for different types of information).


Use the Roman Room memory system (or a variation of this using "Sticky-notes".)




Visual media (photography, film, TV and video, web-page design)

Fine arts

Graphic design



Interior design

Fashion design



Taxi driver



Museum and gallery design


Town planning

Architecture (if also Logical).

Landscaping (if also Naturalist)

Air traffic control (if also Logical)





Visit art galleries.


Watch movies.


Learn to draw or paint.




Learn to Mind Map.


Practice calligraphy.


Illustrate a story.


From memory, draw a map of a familiar area (or a floor-plan of your house or office).


When talking on the phone, create a mental image of the person you are talking to and of where they are.


Choose a "colour of the day" and observe closely where that colour occurs, how it complements or contrasts with other colours, the mood it creates, and so on.


Travel to work by a different route.





Our sense of vision is processed in the occipital lobe at the rear of the brain. It contains interlinked modules which deal with the various aspects of interpreting visual signals (such as shape, colour, motion), co-ordinating these into our seamless "world-view".


People suffering from akinetopsia (an extremely rare condition arising from damage to a specific region of the brain) are unable to perceive movement.


People suffering from neglect (usually as the result of a stroke) will ignore things in one half of their visual field. Their eyes see what is there but their brains ignore it.


Colour vision defects affect 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women, and usually result in the inability to distinguish between certain colours (say, red and green). True colour blindness can leave an individual incapable of distinguishing any colours at all, leaving them to experience the world in monochrome.


Prosopagnosia is the inability to recognise faces, even those of near relatives and close friends. The part of the brain that is set up to record and compare facial characteristics simply does not work.


Localised brain damage can also lead to the inability to recognise particular categories of objects (e.g. animals), suggesting that our visual recognition processing modules are quite specific.