Here's a very interesting paper from Kosslyn and his group. It provides answers to those curious complaints of visual thinkers who mutter, "If I'm such a visual thinker why is it I...."
As it turns out, there are two very different types of people who identify themselves as visual thinkers - ones that are very pictoral, and others who are really spatial. On some visual tasks they appear to be complete opposites.
The different groups appear to be:
Visual-Pictures: remember scenes like a photograph, remember color and detail, temporal lobe, more women, artists
Visual-Spatial (or maybe just Spatial is easier): remember moving objects (dynamic, spatial relationships), schematic diagrams, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, more men
Interestingly, these two visual 'types' appear to have some opposite performances with visual tasks (with verbalizers in the middle), suggesting a possible yin-yang effect between 'What' and 'Where'. Try this out yourself. Take a look at the graph below. Visualize and describe the situation shown by the graph.
What does yours look like? Is it more like the artist's or the scientist's?
These findings might provide useful information for students or adults with dyslexia. For those with problems with spatial imagery, colorful picture strategies may be with way to go. Memory for color and color sequence can compensate for spatial memory difficulties in sequence and object relationships. We've found this can help a lot with spelling and high visual-memory subjects like science and its diagrams and multi-stepped mathematics.
Two Types of Visual Thinkers - Kosslyn group