The Quick Mental Test That Separates People With High Intelligence From Average Thinkers

Do you have this specific type of intelligence?

Last updated on Feb 20, 2024

woman with finger on head next to a brain Jolygon & Krakenimages.Com / Shutterstock

Spatial intelligence is the ability to create, remember, recall, and transform visual images, no matter what angle of rotation you see it in. This form of intelligence was born out of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Gardner believed that intellectual potential was not just something you were born with, and that there were eight components of intellect: Visual-Spatial, Linguistic-Verbal, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Logical-Mathematical, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and Naturalistic Intelligence.


But what if you discovered that your spatial ability and spatial awareness could determine how well you will perform scientific subjects like physics, biology, astronomy, and computer science?

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Dan Mirea shared a video explaining how your spatial skills and mental rotation abilities can clue you in on the level of intellect you possess.

This quick mental rotation test separates intellectuals from average thinkers.



So, how do you use a mental rotation task to test your cognitive skills?

In Mirea’s video, he starts by asking if you can quickly rotate images in your mind. He tells viewers that the quick psychology test is “somewhat associated” with performance in science subjects.


He then says that he will show images of letters that have been rotated clockwise or counterclockwise. The idea is to test your cognitive ability by telling whether the images are rotated letters or mirror images.

The Quick Mental Test That Separates People With High Intelligence From Average ThinkersPhoto: cottonbro studio / Pexels

To start the mental rotation task, Mirea begins to rotate mental representations of the letter "R" as an example. He advises that your response time should be quick since one key component of the test is reaction time.


Six letters are shown in various states of rotation and mirroring, allowing viewers to decide what is real and what is mirrored.

According to the Mirea, if you were successful in visualizing spatial changes, you have strong spatial abilities.

Commenters were quick to point out that the results suggested the test was too easy. They demanded a tougher task and Mirea delivered.



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This time, two mental 3-D objects were placed side by side, with viewers having to determine whether they were the same image that had been rotated. This particular task, Mirea claims, tells how well you will do in both science and sports.

What is mental rotation?

Mental rotation, as it relates to spatial intelligence, is the ability to rotate mental two- or three-dimensional images or objects. It utilizes the right cerebral hemisphere where your perception skills are housed.

There cognitive stages of mental rotation are:

  • The creation of a mental object or image
  • Rotation of the object or image for comparison purposes
  • Comparison of the object or image
  • The decision about whether the object is the same or mirrored
  • Articulating that decision

The Quick Mental Test That Separates People With High Intelligence From Average ThinkersPhoto: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels


The concept of mental rotation ability was first discovered by Roger Shepard in 1981. In his research, he found that the more an object rotated from its original position, the longer the reaction time.

In another study conducted by Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, they found marked differences between males and females who participated. The men outperformed the women in both large-scale and small-scale spatial ability.

That same study concluded that females didn’t perform as well in large-scale spatial ability tests because they were “more susceptible to emotions,” and their gray matter region of the brain that supports memory and retrieval was less efficient than their male counterparts was.


So, even if you weren't able to properly rotate the images in the test using your mind, that doesn't mean you aren't intelligent — you just think in a different way.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.