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.
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.
Easily and effectively you can learn to see more by, well, seeing more. See people, places and things that are new to you.
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.
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.
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
This is why 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.
Travel, meeting new people who are not of our own familiar racial groups, seeing art and going to movies that include new and different visual information, such as people, places and things created by special effects allows us to increase our visual memories. This means we can recognize. This increases our functional visual intelligence.
So, take the time to break out of your daily visual rut 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. Increase your visual intelligence!
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]