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What is Nonverbal Intelligence?


Updated May 20, 2014

China, Guangxi Province, girl (6-9) looking at globe in class
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Definition: Nonverbal intelligence it the ability to analyze information and solve problems using visual, or hands-on reasoning.

Nonverbal tasks may involve concepts such as:

  • Concrete or abstract ideas;
  • Internalized language-based reasoning; and / or
  • Internalized reasoning without language.

Nonverbal tasks involve skills such as:

  • The ability to recognize visual sequences and remember them;
  • Understanding the meaning of visual information and recognizing relationships between visual concepts;
  • Performing visual analogies; and
  • Recognition of causal relationships in pictured situations.

Nonverbal intelligence is important because it enables students to analyze and solve complex problems without relying upon or being limited by language abilities. Many mathematical concepts, physics problems, computer science tasks, and science problems require strong reasoning skills.

Nonverbal intelligence is typically assessed in extended IQ tests.

Nonverbal intelligence may be improved by working with hands-on tasks, occupational therapy, puzzles, blocks and building toys, find-a-word puzzles, mazes, and erector sets.

Back to Special Education and Learning Disability Terms

Also Known As: Similar terms - visual reasoning, abstract reasoning

Non-verbal intelligence is important in understanding math calculation and geometry.

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