With visual skills can be compared fingerprints interpret medical X-rays, or keep track of the aircraft on radar displays.
A new study for the first time showed that the visual abilities of people there are differences, and they are not linked to general intelligence or IQ. The study is published in the September issue of Cognition.
"Sometimes people think that define their ability to visualize objects, - says Isabelle Gauthier, professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University -. But it turns out that they are not very well assess their skills in comparison with others."
Earlier studies in the field of recognition of visual objects focused on the general terms and Gautier became interested in how visual abilities differ. To answer this question, the test was designed to measure the ability to identify unknown objects.
First Gauthier assessed public opinion about the visual skills by studying the respondents' opinions. She found that visual tasks are considered separately from the other tasks associated with general intelligence. People believe that visual skills is less difference than the verbal and mathematical abilities.
The main problem faced by researchers in assessing the ability of visual recognition, this knowledge object. The more time a person spends on the study of specific types of objects, such as faces, cars or birds, the better he identifies them. It is important that participants identified the unfamiliar objects.
Gaultier has solved this problem by inventing new computer creatures, calling them gribble, sheynbugami and ziggerinami to study visual recognition. The test consisted in the study of six creatures, followed by several test items. Each set included fantastic creatures unfamiliar creatures and participant was asked to choose the familiar.
Analyzing the results, Gauthier and colleagues found that the ability to recognize one kind of creatures depends on how well the participants recognize the other, even though these objects were different. Psychologists have used the results of several tests associated with the IQ, and determined that visual abilities are independent of general intelligence.
"It's interesting, because work on cognitive skills is always associated with general intelligence, - says Gauthier -. With these tests, we learn about the people something new."
Although the study suggests that visual skills are different from general intelligence, individual differences are much greater than previously thought.
"Many types of employment and hobbies depend on visual skills, - says Gauthier -. Because they are independent of general intelligence, the next step - to learn how we use these tests in practice."