Visual analysis skills refer to a group of skills that enable an individual to recognize the features related to the visual stimulus. These include figure ground, visual form recognition and constancy, visual closure, visual spatial memory, visual sequential memory, visualization, and visual span and speed.
Figure ground refers to the ability to search or attend to a particular feature or form while disregarding other irrelevant information. Attending to a form and ignoring unimportant info occur simultaneously. For instance, you want to find a blue paper clip in a box filled with multicoloured paper clips. You ignore all the other colors in search for the blue paper clip. A common puzzle game that requires figure ground skill is Word Hunt.
Visual Form Recognition and Constancy
This combination of subskills includes the ability of a person to identify the differences in features and forms. It involves the discrimination between the shape, size, orientation, color and other attributes. In terms of constancy, the subskill allows the individual to consistently recognize an object despite changes in its properties. For example, "dress", "DRESS", and "dReSs" would be recognized as the same word using this subskill. A common puzzle game that uses and enhances this subskill is Tetris.
Visual closure is the ability of an individual to determine the clues presented visually, such that he will be able to identify the appearance of the final object without all the details being present at the same time. Complete The Word and Dot-to-Dot (see the image below) are examples of an activity where visual closure can be applied.
There are two subskills under visual memory: spatial and sequential. Visual spatial memory involves recalling the spatial location of a visual stimulus. An individual needs to exercise his visual spatial memory if he has lost an object and wants to picture it in his mind.
Another example is looking at the printed word " BAG" and creating a mental image of the indicated object. Picture memory games exercise visual spatial memory. On the other hand, visual sequential memory includes the skill of recalling a sequence of letter, numbers or objects in the manner through which they were previously presented. An example is recalling your phone number versus that of your friend. Spelling tests require good visual sequential memory skills.
Visualization, Speed and Span
Another related visual analysis skill is visualization, which involves a higher level of skill to create a mental image of an object one has seen, and then manipulate the image in his mind. For example, you see some cuts of wood, and you mentally reconstruct them into a wooden chair, table or stairs.
Lastly, visual speed and span involve the amount and rate at which a person's visual processing mechanism handles information. An example is copying a lesson from a book by copying at a rate of 5-7 words per glance, versus copying at a rate of 1-2 words per glance. Speed stacking is a good game that exercises this skill.
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