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Kids who do well on this test may have unrealised potential

Spatial intelligence not as prized by traditional academia as verbal and math scores – but it should be.

Image: building blocks image via Shutterstock

IT’S NO SURPRISE that high verbal and maths scores at a young age might predict future success, but when you add a test for spatial reasoning ability to the mix, you get an even better predictor of someone’s future accomplishments, creativity, and innovative potential, a recent study found.

The study, from Vanderbilt professors Harrison J Kell, David Lubinski, Camilla P Benbow, and James H Steiger, found a particularly strong effect for maths, science, and related fields.

The data comes from a group of 13-year-olds who already tested in the top 0.5 per cent of their age group in cognitive ability. All were given the American SAT and a subset of the Differential Aptitude Test, which measures spatial reasoning ability.

Spatial reasoning is basically the ability to manipulate 2D and 3D objects in your head. The authors and others argue that this sort of intelligence is badly neglected in our current education and testing systems, and that by giving it earlier and better emphasis, we can help unleash more high potential individuals.

Wondering if you or your child has this particular ability?

An earlier paper by two of the authors along with Duke professor and Business Insider contributor Jonathan Wai gives some example questions. Think you could do well on a set of 20 of each of these?

Only one of the 5 figures shown below can be made from the pattern on the left. Which is it?

Just one of the drawings (A through E) exactly matches the drawing at the left if you turn it around. The rest are backwards:

This question is pretty self-explanatory, and would be part of a series testing understanding of mechanical ideas:

Which of the five choices is next in the given pattern?

Find more questions and answers in the study here>

- Max Nisen

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