What’s Visual Intelligence?

Visual Intelligence is the ability to quickly recognize visual reality personal experienced visual reality, to accurately interpret what is viewed, see more accurately more of what you see, including more nuances, distinctions and meanings is visual intelligence.

This concept of intelligence was introduced by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences. His term, “visual-spatial intelligence” refers to the ability to visualize the world accurately, modify surroundings based upon one’s perceptions, and recreate the aspects of one’s visual experiences.

I suggest that his definition is correct but falls short, as it fails to include perceiving, recognizing and even the ability to convey hidden meanings or references to one’s visual experience(s).

Although we need our eyes to see, all that our eyes perceive is impressions of light. Our eyes account for only 10% of our perception of vision. People who have 20/20 vision, with or without corrective lenses differ widely in their visual intelligence.

Can Visual Intelligence Be Increased?

Visual intelligence can be easily increased. The ability to quickly recognize more of what you see, including more nuances, distinctions and meanings is visual intelligence.

You can enjoyably and effectively you can learn to see more by, well, seeing more. See people, places and things that are new to you. After you are armed with the knowledge shared here, we will end with a short visual activity that should prove enjoyable and effective while, for most people will increase your visual memory.

We see through our memories. The more visual memories we have that are of different people, places and things, the more we are able to perceive.

Science has discovered that 90% of vision happens in our brains. Our brains decode the impressions of light sent by our eyes into meaningful data. We experience the brain’s translation of this data as seeing.

People can be blind, or partially blind when specific areas of the brain that relate to specific types of visual recognition, such as faces, is damaged. We are all also relatively blind to what is radically new to us. We build our understandings on the foundations of previous memories. For example, children first learn to recognize the ABCs, then they learn the phonics of each letter and special combinations of letters, and then they can sound out words, but still need to experience that magic moment of recognizing that the sound and meaning of words themselves can be recognized and remembered, that every sentence does not need to be laboriously sounded out. The combinations of words themselves can be remembered.

How Does This Work?

There is a documented story of a European medical doctor who was working with a tribe in Africa over a century ago during the colonial period. He became good friends with the chief who was very intelligent and they spent many pleasant off hours together. The doctor was introduced to the tribal culture, which included sculpture and other visual artistic expression, but not painting.

When a show of good European paintings (this predates the acceptance of Modern Art, so these paintings were realistic) traveled to a colonized town within a day’s journey, the doctor invited the chief to accompany him so that he could share his culture’s art.

Although we need our eyes to see, all that our eyes only impressions of light. Our eyes account for only 10% of our perception of vision. People who have 20/20 vision, with or without corrective lenses differ widely in their visual intelligence.

Easily and effectively you can learn to see more by, seeing more. See people, places and things that are new to you. Make visual memories of people of other cultures, races, places you may never visit, things like foods or objects that are beyond your experience. You can accomplish this by armchair travel through videos, TV documentaries, or books. Better yet, when possible go where you will experience new sights, meet people from other cultures, see objects. like ancient artifacts that are new to you.

We decipher the impressions of light that our eyes see through our previously gained visual memories. The more visual memories we have that are of different people, places and things, the more we are able to recognize and understand what we see.

People can be blind, or partially blind when specific areas of the brain that relate to specific types of visual recognition, such as faces, is damaged. We are all also relatively blind to what is radically new to us. We are “blind” to whatever we encounter for which we lack visual memories.

There is a documented story of a European medical doctor who was working with a tribe in Africa over a century ago during the colonial period. He became good friends with the chief who was very intelligent and they spent many off hours together. The doctor was introduced to the tribal culture, which included sculpture and other visual artistic expression, but not painting.

When a show of good European paintings (this predates the acceptance of Modern Art, so these paintings were realistic) traveled to a colonized town within a day’s journey, the doctor invited the chief to accompany him so that he could share his culture’s art.

After they walked through the show, the doctor asked the chief how he liked the paintings of the people and places in Europe. The chief asked what he meant.

It turned out that when the chief looked at the paintings all that he saw was colors, not people, places or things, which were wholly unfamiliar to him. The chief lacked the idea and experience of visual information being conveyed through paint. He had no memories of three dimensional realities conveyed through two dimensional art.

They returned to the show, where painting by painting the doctor pointed out what was in the painting until the chief actually had enough new visual memories of paintings depicting people, places and things, that he could see them on his own. Then the chief became delighted with the art and new experience!

The above story explains how we gain greater visual intelligence. Being able to discern images that are comprised of paint, ink or pixels is something normally sighted people in the industrialized world learn to do by the time they are toddlers. But the average toddler, no matter how intelligent, cannot see everything in a detailed painting, such as a Rembrandt, that an adult can. The toddler lacks the many visual memories and encounters with works of art that are necessary to view the subtleties of Rembrandt’s work.

Learning to See More is like Play

Young children especially enjoy books where the illustrations are simple and brightly colored. Bright, basic colors are the first ones we learn to see. Yet it is important to introduce and point out more complex shades and color variations to children as the focus it helps them acquire new visual memories and understandings.

The “work” of the child is to play. Young children learn by playing, which for the means exploring new things and ideas. Children investigate their abilities and the world around them. They actively look at things with wonder to discover their essence. Things that the adults who care for them take for granted.

To expand visual intelligence means to explore what one encounters and sees like a little child. We are exposed to more different images daily than any of our ancestors since there were cavemen. We scroll through our phones, pads, and computer screens being fed a visual cornucopia of discordant still and video images. Generally our visual vocabulary of images comes from this passive viewing, as opposed to the child’s inquisitive active looking to discover the details and meanings of what is at hand.

Travel, meeting and interacting with new people who are not of our own familiar cultural groups, purposefully seeing art, doing jigsaw or find the hidden objects puzzles focus us on expanding our spatial and shape memories. This means we can recognize more details. These are ways to increase our functional visual intelligence.

A young child’s visual memory and ability to visually discern is limited. A child who draws stick figures coveys the visual information that holds the most significant meanings about Mom or Dad, or the family pet(s). An adult may not have learned the techniques of an artist, or be blessed with great hand-eye coordination, but a stick figure does not suffice for Mom, Dad, Fido or Kitty.

So, take the time to break out of your daily visual routine of the places you go, and the environments and people you see. The more different people, places and things you learn to see, the more you will be able to see. Don’t just stop to smell the roses — stop to really spend time to see a rose — instigate its petals, stem and the look of those thorns! Increase your visual intelligence!

BONUS: Visual Activity

Rosebud Red (Proverbs 31: 10-31) below is created with strokes that are the original letters of the named scripture. Before scrolling furtheR down can you see the Torah Font letters that are used as the strokes?

Rosebud Red (Proverbs 31: 10-31) by Judy Rey Wasserman

Find the Hebrew letters lamed and resh in the large leaf below.

Here’s some help:

Some Lameds & Reshs found in Rosebud Red (Proverbs 31: 10-31)

Whenever you encounter the artwork Rosebud Red again, you will remember, this visual activity and quite likely be able to find the lameds and reshs that you identified. If you or someone you know has hung the print of this artwork on a wall, you will see more than you previously saw in this artwork. By doing this visual activity you will have new understandings about the strokes in any of my UnGraven Image art that you personally own or encounter. You will probably have gained more awareness of artistic strokes in general. When you go to an art museum take a closer look at the strokes that create the painting. Great artists who helped teach me about strokes when I was a student, until this day are Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Camille, Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Eugene Delacroix and Hans Hals.

See more about Rosebud Red, including other close up images of sections of the work, please click –> Rosebud Red (Proverbs 31: 10-31) at the Art of Seeing the Divine Shop, where it is available as a print.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” — Proverbs 31:10


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Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting-edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true? See for yourself. See more or yourself. Discover the art of Judy Rey Wasserman’s UnGraven Image.

Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.
Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints including the And You Shall Love… Seasons of the Tree of Life series, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However, if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish. https://artofseeingthedivine.com.


To see discover more about Judy Rey’s special strokes and the added meanings they add to UnGraven Image art see: Your Name in Hebrew is Hidden in My Paintings

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