Spatial intelligence is the ability to comprehend three-dimensional images and shapes. This is a primary function of the right side of the brain and is used when solving puzzles, figuring out maps and taking part in any type of construction or engineering project.
While spatial intelligence usually involves vision it also incorporates abstract and analytical abilities that go beyond merely seeing images. Recognizing the image, knowing its relationship to other surrounding objects and displaying the organizational structure of a thought are all involved in spatial intelligence.
Spatial intelligence is also referred to as “visual thinking”. A good example of visual thinking is when someone is hiking and has a compass and map. Though there is no physical path laid out the hiker will use the tools to visualize a mental path using the maps and compass to derive the best route through woods.
Spatial intelligence skills are essential for mastering a game such as chess or for commanding troops on a battlefield. When you play chess you have to use strategy and skill in not only planning your moves but anticipating what moves your opponent will make. This is where spatial intelligence comes in because this type of brain exercise lets you visualize the board several moves in advance even though the pieces haven’t been moved.
Another good example of a game that tests and improves spatial intelligence is the famous Rubik’s Cube puzzle. The 3x3x3 cube features nine square faces on each side for a total area of 54 faces. The faces are covered in six different solid colors and the object is to get each side of the cube all one color. There are many tips and hints for solving the Rubik’s Cube puzzle but all involve spatial intelligence and how the brain organizes objects in the mind to form a solution to a problem before actually solving the problem.
Training and improving your spatial intelligence can help improve many areas of your brain including memory, cognitive ability and thinking. People who can visualize solutions or patterns to solving a problem have a distinct edge over people who have to have everything laid out before they can try to find a solution.