This is more to be considered a group of intelligences or learning styles than a single 'intelligence'. It refers to the brain's ability to notice and process (and possibly imagine) observations of different kinds. It stems from cognitive science and the sorting of learners into visual, audio, tactile and kinesthetic learners. Many other sortings according to intelligences exist, but this one is probably the most common one.

Naturally, the above four indicate the ability to apply senses, in this case eyes, ears, touch and body movement. Thus, a visual learner would apply mainly vision in learning, using tools such as text and pictures. A kinesthetic learner would prosper in fields using movement, often sports.

The idea of sensory intelligence expands upon this (and upon other theories within cognitive science not mentioned here). It states, that any sense can be considered to have an intelligence of its own, whether it be vision, touch, taste, even slightly exotic ones like temperature and time, the latter being a vital component, along with audio, in rythm.

While much theoretical debate exists as to what is and isn't eligible as an intelligence, practical uses of the idea exist. Most involve identifying and subsequently training any intelligence, which may be holding a learner back in his field of study. Most senses can be trained through increasingly challenging observation tests, such as asking the individual to describe a sound or detect motion or a smell. The problem is to determine which sensory intelligence causes difficulties. In some fields, training a single sensory intelligence to extremes can be beneficial. Others seek to apply profiles of a person's sensory intelligences in order to create optimized training or learning programs, using strong sensory intelligences as the main tool.