Characteristics of Spatial Intelligence
One of the multiple intelligences is spatial intelligence. Spatial intelligence involves recognizing and manipulating shapes in space. It involves shapes, colors, and perspective.
How well can you visualize objects and manipulate them in your mind? Can you recognize subtle differences in shapes? These are indicators of spatial intelligence.
Are you good at imagining 3-D objects? Can you draw complex objects accurately? Good at easily manipulating a form or object? Can you “mentally rotate” forms and shapes? Can you tell whether two complex shapes are identical when viewing several similar but different objects? You work easily in the visual world.
People who have high spatial intelligence can “manipulate complex forms in several dimensions.” They can recognize the tension between lines and space as well as balance in space.
Solving spatial problems separately from logical or linguistic intelligence is a key factor in realizing the power of this intelligence.
How important is spatial intelligence? When it comes to understanding our own physical world, it would seem that spatial intelligence is indispensable. Our everyday navigation through our world depends on vision and spaces.
Spatial Intelligence in Science
Even in the high realms of science and discovery, spatial intelligence seems to underpin some profound discoveries. Einstein seemed to use this intelligence in working through his theories. The chemist Friedrich Kelcule discovered the structure of the benzene ring while aslee by dreaming of snakes who had seized their own tails in a loop. Upon awakening he unlocked the secret.
Certain scientists and engineers need spatial intelligence. Chemists, astronomers, and physicists use spatial intelligence as well as aeronautical, civil, and mechanical engineers. Artists, sculptors, and architects rely heavily on this intelligence. Chess masters use this intelligence but seem to combine it with logical-mathematical intelligence. Noted chess masters have prodigious memories of movement in space.
Spatial Intelligence in Native Environments
Eskimos have an acute sense of space and environment. They rely heavily on recognition of extremely subtle variations in snow topography that an ordinary person would be blind to
Location of Spatial Intelligence
Spatial intelligence resides mostly in the right hemisphere of the brain. Damage to the right hemisphere can degrade this intelligence significantly.
For a more detailed analysis of spatial intelligence read chapter 8 “Spatial Intelligence” from Howard Gardner’s book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.