- A Harvard psychologist says humans have 8 types of intelligence. Which ones do you score the highest in?
- 1. Spatial intelligence
- 2. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
- 3. Musical intelligence
- 4. Linguistic intelligence
- 5. Logical-mathematical intelligence
- 6. Interpersonal intelligence
- 7. Intrapersonal intelligence
- 8. Naturalistic intelligence
- The Different Types of Intelligence: What Kind of Smarts are You?
- What types of intelligence do I have?
- 9 Types of intelligence in Psychology
- 1. Naturalistic intelligence
- 2. Musical intelligence
- 3. Logical–mathematical intelligence
- 4. Existential intelligence
- 5. Interpersonal intelligence
- 6. Linguistic intelligence
- 7. Bodily–kinaesthetic intelligence
- 8. Intra–personal intelligence
- 9. Spatial intelligence
- The value of knowing what kind of smarts you have
- 9 Types Of Intelligence – Infographic
- The 9 Types of Intelligence
- 1. Naturalist Intelligence
- 2. Musical Intelligence
- 3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
- 4. Existential Intelligence
- 5. Interpersonal Intelligence
- 6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
- 7. Linguistic Intelligence
- 8. Intra-personal Intelligence
- 9. Spatial Intelligence
A Harvard psychologist says humans have 8 types of intelligence. Which ones do you score the highest in?
We're not all naturally skilled at the same things. Some are more athletic and have better coordination. Some pick up on language and words faster at a young age, while others are good with numbers and visualizing patterns.
But most people don't fully understand their range of abilities, and as a result, may end up in the wrong careers. Or, they might enjoy their jobs, but struggle to identify effective learning techniques that will help them excel further.
Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Credit: Kumar Mehta, CNBC Make It
How high you score in one category does not necessarily influence how (high or low) you score in another.
If you want to learn to be exceptional at something, your best bet is to understand the unique areas of intelligence where you have an advantage, and then build upon those strengths.
For example, consider someone who struggled with writing until they attempted to create a graphic story, which turned into a compelling narrative. Or a student who couldn't seem to grasp fractions until they visualized separating apples into slices.
Below are the eight types of intelligence identified by Gardner. As you go through each, score yourself on a scale of one (doesn't come naturally) to five (comes very naturally).
1. Spatial intelligence
The ability to think abstractly and in multiple dimensions. Scoring a five means you have a large capacity for spatial reasoning and conceptualization — something required for fields such as architecture, graphic design, photography, interior design and aviation.
Potential career choices:
- Fashion designer
2. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
The ability to use your body in a way that demonstrates physical and athletic prowess. If you have this skill, you could be an athlete effortlessly running down a field and passing a ball, or a dancer flawlessly performing a complicated routine.
Potential career choices:
- Physical therapist
3. Musical intelligence
Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre. This may entail the ability to sing and/or play musical instruments. Famous people with musical intelligence include Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Aretha Franklin.
Potential career choices:
- Musical conductor
- Music teacher
4. Linguistic intelligence
Sometimes called «language intelligence,» this involves sensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words, and the sound, rhythms, inflections and meter of words. Those who score high in this category are typically good at writing stories, memorizing information and reading.
Potential career choices:
- English professor
5. Logical-mathematical intelligence
The ability to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations and investigate issues scientifically. People with this intelligence, such as Albert Einstein and Bill Gates, are skilled at developing equations and proofs and solving abstract problems.
Potential career choices:
- Computer programmer
6. Interpersonal intelligence
The ability to interact effectively with others. Sensitivity to others people's moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations. Essentially, it's being able to understand and relate to those around you.
Potential career choices:
- Team manager
7. Intrapersonal intelligence
Sensitivity to one's own feelings, goals and anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one's own traits. Intrapersonal intelligence is not particular to specific careers; rather, it is a goal for every individual in a complex modern society, where one has to make consequential decisions for oneself.
Potential career choices:
8. Naturalistic intelligence
The ability to understand the nuances in nature, including the distinction between plants, animals, and other elements of nature and life. Notable individuals with naturalistic intelligence include Charles Darwin and Jane Goodall.
Potential career choices:
If you struggled to assess yourself, ask people closest to you for their observations. Or, consider the things you gravitated towards during your youth. (It's usually when we're kids that we pick up activities closely linked with our innate abilities.)
Keep in mind that this is just a quick and simple exercise to provide you with a clearer sense of your strengths. Do your top skills and interests align with your career? If not, how can you use them to get to where you want to be?
When we gain a deeper understanding of our natural talents, we have better chance of figuring out how to achieve goals in both our personal and professional lives.
Dr. Kumar Mehta, Ph.D., is the author of «The Innovation Biome» and «The Exceptionals.» He researches, writes and speaks about personal excellence. Dr. Mehta also serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern. Follow him on @mehtakumar.
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The Different Types of Intelligence: What Kind of Smarts are You?
While some types of intelligences are generally more recognised, and sometimes even more valued, the reality is no one type of intelligence is better than another.
Instead it is more important to know what type of intelligence you have. This can help you to maximise your inherent advantages and highlight an area where you may need to exercise some extra grit to succeed.
What kind of intelligence or smarts are you?
What types of intelligence do I have?
The word intelligence oftenconjures up images of maths and science or IQ tests and complicated algorithms.People who are thought to have high intelligence are valued and oftenconsidered a cut above the rest.
What is intelligence? And, is there only one kindof smarts? What if you are useless at maths, but brilliant at languages…doesthat make you unintelligent? Or do you just need a different way of framingthings when you studying?
9 Types of intelligence in Psychology
These are the very questions that Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner addressed in his 1983 book, “Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” Here, Gardener explains that people do not have a set intellectual capacity, but rather many kinds of intelligences, for example a person can be musically intelligent, but terrible with numbers.
In his book, Gardenerargues that traditional psychometric views of measuring intelligence are toonarrow and that they can’t possibly capture all the abilities and talentspeople possess. He states that it would be incomplete to judge someone’sintelligence by one or two factors alone. Instead to help us understandourselves better, Gardener explains the nine types of intelligence withexamples.
1. Naturalistic intelligence
Have you noticed how somepeople can make anything grow? It’s as if they have a ‘green thumb’. Othersconnect with animals easily and some are completely at home in nature.
Naturalistic intelligence describes people who are sensitive to the naturalworld. They enjoy being outside, nurturing and exploring the environment.
People with high naturalistic intelligence are sensitive to subtle changes innature and the environment around them.
2. Musical intelligence
Not everyone has greenthumbs and a love for the great outdoors. Instead, some people are naturallydrawn towards music.
People with musical intelligence are generally moresensitive to sound and often pick up on noises that others would not normallybe aware of.
They have an excellent sense of rhythm and the ability torecognise tone and pitch. More often than not they play an instrument or areinvolved in music as a profession.
3. Logical–mathematical intelligence
Of all the types ofintelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence is the most similar to what wetypically associate with general intelligence. People with this type ofintelligence are excellent at maths and working with numbers.
They canrecognise patterns easily and work out processes in a logical manner. They haveexcellent reasoning skills and can often talk themselves trouble.
Peoplewith high logical–mathematical intelligence are often drawn to games involvingstrategy and the solving of puzzles.
4. Existential intelligence
While many of us are happywith going about our lives day by day, people with high levels of existentialintelligence often think moredeeply about daily occurrences.
They ask questionssimilar to why are we here? And, what is the point of all this? They are oftendeeply philosophical thinkers and they have the capacity to look for answers toquestions bigger than themselves.
Existential intelligence is often calledspiritual or moral intelligence.
5. Interpersonal intelligence
Do you have a natural ability to get on well with others? Are you good at reading people and social situations? If this is the case, chances are that you have a high level of interpersonal intelligence.
People with this type of intelligence are often good at reading verbal and non-verbal cues as well as determining temperament and mood. They feel empathy easily.
Often this type of intelligence can be found in leaders, politicians, social workers, life coaches and psychologists.
6. Linguistic intelligence
Linguistic intelligence is the type of intelligence that is most commonly shared by humans. It involves our ability to think in words and use these words to make oneself understood.
People with high linguistic intelligence are very good at putting their feelings and thoughts into words in order to make others understand them.
They are drawn to activities such as reading, writing and public speaking.
7. Bodily–kinaesthetic intelligence
People high in bodily–kinaestheticintelligence have an excellent sense of timing and a great mind-bodycoordination as well as fine and gross motor skills. They are able to use theirbodies to convey feelings and ideas and, as a result, they often take up rolesin dance, sports or medicine. They use their bodies to solve problems andcreate something meaningful.
8. Intra–personal intelligence
Do you understand yourthoughts, feelings and emotions and are you able to use this understanding inyour everyday life? If this is the case, you probably have high intra-personalintelligence.
Intra-personal intelligence refers to an understanding of oneselfand the human condition as a whole. They are known as ‘self-smart’ people and,despite having a deeper understanding of their own emotions, they are oftenquite shy.
Philosophers, spiritual leaders, psychologist and writersusually have high intra-personal intelligence.
9. Spatial intelligence
Spatial intelligence isdefined as the ability to consider things in three dimensions. People with highspatial intelligence are generally very creative and usually have a vividimagination, high artistic ability and excellent spatial reasoning. These peopleare often referred to as ‘picture smart’ and can be found in professions suchas architecture, design and map reading.
The value of knowing what kind of smarts you have
It must be noted thatGardner’s theory has been the topic of much discussion and criticism frompsychologists.
Many felt that his definition of intelligence is too broad,merely representing skills and talents and not intelligence per se. His lack ofempirical research has also been questioned.
Despite this however his theory ofmultiple intelligence is still useful to teachers and caretakers who value amore holistic view of child development.
A good understanding of thedifferent types of intelligence provides a broader understanding ofintelligence, suggesting that there is an array of potential and capacity forgrowth that we as a society have not fully explored. Besides, isn’t it nice toknow that even if you are completely useless at maths it doesn’t necessarilymean that you aren’t smart!
You can gain more insight into the many facets of the human experience by studying psychology. SACAP offers a range of courses that can pave the way for a career in psychology, while developing skills that will prove valuable in a variety of other career paths. For more information, enquire now.
9 Types Of Intelligence – Infographic
This infographic shows that being good at math or languages are not the only two ways to be smart.
Create an infographic this on Adioma
That is what school beat into us by putting certain types of intelligence on a pedestal and ignoring other types. If you are not good at math or language, you might still be gifted at other things but it was not called “intelligence”. Why?
In 1983 an American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener described 9 types of intelligence :
What other scientists thought were just soft-skills, such as interpersonal skills, Gardener realized were types of intelligence. It makes sense.
Just as being a math whiz gives you the ability to understand the world, so does being “people smart” give you the same ability, just from a different perspective.
Not knowing math you may not calculate the rate at which the universe is expanding, but you are ly to have the skills to find the right person who will.
The 9 Types of Intelligence
Here is an overview of the multiple intelligences theory, summarized by ASCD :
1. Naturalist Intelligence
Naturalist intelligence designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations).
This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.
It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the .
2. Musical Intelligence
Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners.
Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves.
They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.
3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations.
It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives.
Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.
4. Existential Intelligence
Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why we die, and how did we get here.
5. Interpersonal Intelligence
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others.
It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives.
Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.
6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and crafts people exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.
7. Linguistic Intelligence
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings.
Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language.
Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.
8. Intra-personal Intelligence
Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life.
Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy.
They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.
9. Spatial Intelligence
Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination.
Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence.
Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.
Even 20 years after Gardener’s book came out, there is still a debate whether talents other than math and language are indeed types of intelligence or just skills. What do you think?
Challenging a millenia-old notion that intelligence is a single kind of human capacity does not necessarily win one friends among the intelligent. Gardener’s book is still controversial.
If you find it describes exactly what you have suspected to be true since you first went to school, it still isn’t an easy pill to swallow. This book questions what we consider a good education, what we consider talent, and how much control one has to acquire them.
The insights are there as long as you are willing to follow Gardener’s scholarly style – he admits he writes for fellow psychologists.
If you prefer a more entertaining but no less profound style, read Ken Robinson’s The Element.
Just as upbeat as his famously animated talk at Ted, the book starts with exploring what went wrong or rather what was so right about your childhood self, what school did to it and why, and how now it’s not too late to rediscover your talents and intelligences.
1. Howard Gardner’s official website contains links to scientific papers.
2. Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, 3rd ed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2009.
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