Visual-Spatial Intelligence

TL:DR | From a young age I've had a vivid imagination, and how that visualizing part of the brain has developed is fascinating to me. This was my thought process today.


5 min read
Visual-Spatial Intelligence

In this Fireside Codex entry I've been thinking about how my brain visualizes the...everything. From a young age I have had a vivid imagination, even playing Mario in my head with the lines of a wall in a waiting room. I don't even think it is a factor of possible neuro-divergence, as I feel it is something I trained akin to a muscle.

From being able to visualize my entire hometown with 3D street view in my head, to visualizing a HUD (heads up display) like a video game.

I would honestly say part of this is just a natural part of how my particular brain works, as I am weaker in other areas, and this is one of my strengths. Just like we all have strengths and weaknesses.

I strongly believe in training all of the Functions to the best of our abilities, and I don't think that intelligence is static. With newer research into neuroplasticity, and the fact that we should always be learning; There are boundless opportunities for growth.


Never Forget a Face

I was sitting at the library today listening to an audiobook, when I decide you know it is time for a break, and let's listen to music. Currently repeating this song on 24/7:

As I am jamming out to it, a man walks in front of me, and I recognized him from the Arc (work). Turns out he hadn't been there in a couple years, for a variety of reasons, but I immediately recognized him. Started chatting, and he even remembered me as well.

This example is something I experience on a weekly basis, if not more often, as I don't forget what people look like. I can't remember your name worth a damn, even when I repeat it multiple times to try to instill it. However I have had people come in for water aerobics in my first couple years of teaching, leave, and come back half a decade later. Still recognized them, and this goes for Karaoke as well.

I'll meet people once, literally just once, and when they come back ages later: instant recall. At least in most cases, as I'm sure there are some outliers. I do meet a lot of people.


Google Street View in my Head

Look I get it, it is my hometown, and I'm bound to know these roads like the back of my hand. Although not everyone apparently, as I've met people who lived here longer than I've been alive, and they knew nothing about the city. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I would ride around a lot as I didn't drive into later in life, and I would watch a lot of the external sights.

Now if I ever want to pick a place to eat, or maybe need to figure out where to go, in my head I am going down the streets as if I was on Google.

The really cool part is that it isn't beholden to just my hometown, in every place I've visited, from California to Florida, etc; There would be an area of exploration I would venture into, and to this day I still can envision how the area was laid out in 3D detail. As time goes on it does fade a bit, but I went to Houston last Summer. Now I still visualize the entire area around the hotel I explored, and even a lot of the areas me and sister explored far away.


Video Games as the Influence/Training

There is not a doubt in my mind that video games had something to do with this ability. This is because of the vast worlds you explore in the games, and the amount of back tracking you have to do. Even in progressive games where you don't have to go back, there is a level of remembering you have to do while in that area.

Oh the chest I can't get to yet is over on the other side kind of thing. I also spent a lot of my gaming years playing open world games, which means you can essentially go anywhere. From Skyrim to Assassins Creed (some of the most realistic worlds you'll ever see, like imagine going down the canals of Venice), and even Zelda or Pokemon. There are deep worlds to explore, and remember where things are.

I was playing a game called Mass Effect Andromeda a little while back, and I remember at some points thinking "MAN this area is too big, I'm not gonna be able to remember where to go", and then whatta know I end up doing just that. That is how games operate, and it trains you to see the world differently too. Looking out for objects of interesting, places of interest, even climbing. The games Assassins Creed and Tomb Raider involve an insane amount of climbing, and they would have highlighted spots to indicate where to go.

I've started seeing those in real life, and I would visualize myself scaling a building.

A Dream-like State

Point is their face is imprinted in my brain, and what is SUPER fascinating is when I see people on TikTok now of all places. Sometimes I'll find someone new who is interesting, follow them, or even not follow for a while. Just I would engage with their videos, and the algorithm keeps feeding me their content a lot.

At least on three occasions, two of which were in the past two weeks, I would find someone new. Then out of the blue they would appear in my dreams, guys and gals, and we would have conversations. It wouldn't be just a simple easter egg, but rather a character in the story my brain was weaving.

The power of dreaming also creeped into my conscious mind a few times. Mostly due to sleep deprivation I would say, but it was amazing! What happened was as a teenager I would play a lot of games, more than now even, and I was playing Fallout 3/NV for the first time. One day I spent like 9 hours playing, and had to go to work that day or the next day.

While at work being a lifeguard, I would have to scan the water constantly, and in the Fallout games there is a tool called VATS. It essentially allowed you to stop time and aim at people. The HUD of VATS is that of like flying an airplane with a screen. I ended up SEEING the hud in real life, and almost like in the game time would slow down. I would enhance and highlight individual people, as if I was zooming in to see them.


Visual Representation

I spoke about dreams earlier, and it is phenomenal how some of my dreams evolve. I'll get a lot of the hero's arc stories, or something like venturing back into high school (a common theme for most people I think). Yet I would amass these sprawling worlds, one was even a Zelda overworld, that was detailed all across the map. I barely recall it now, but had I have the artistic ability I would've drawn it when I got up.

From games to dreams, and even the in real life applications; There is a lot to be gained from having visual/spatial intelligence. I highly recommend trying to improve your abilities.

Don't You Forget About Me

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