enlarge/ `we can both find our way through a maze!`flickr user: ron reiringshare this storyspatial ability is a bit of a fuzzy concept. there are lots of different tests that can be used to assess it, like mentally rotating a 3d shape or reasoning out how a mechanical object would work. are all of these tests really looking at the same thing, or are they probing unrelated capacities that we’re artificially combining under the heading of “spatial ability?`a paper in pnas this week suggests that different spatial tests are all basically testing the same underlying ability—and that this ability is only partly explained by general intelligence. this means that spatial ability is, to some extent, independent: you can have better (or worse) spatial ability than your general intelligence might suggest. the results also suggest that about a third of the differences in people's spatial scores can be explained by genetics.your genes don't have the last wordfor any given trait...