Nine different types of intelligence

In 1983 Howard Gardener who was an American developmental psychologist, published a book called Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In this book he argues that there is not one perfect way of measuring intelligence and that our brains are wired with a whole range of cognitive abilities. Gardener points out that a person can, for example, be bad at math but excel at and be top of another field such as music. He then presents the following 9 types of intelligence.

  1. Naturalistic Intelligence

This refers to a person’s sensitivity to the natural world. These individuals are easily able to distinguish between different features in nature such as cloud formations, rock formations, plants etc. In the past this was very valuable for hunters, farmers and gatherers and is central to present positions such as botanists. This type of intelligence can also be seen in how consumers discriminate among products.

  1. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

This type of intelligence involves being able to calculate and execute mathematical operations as well consider hypothesis and propositions. People who fall into this category tend to recognise patterns and relationships very easily and use abstract thoughts. Young adults who have this type of intelligence tend to be very interested in patterns and relationships and are drawn to strategy games, experiments and arithmetic problems. Logical intelligence can be seen in scientists, mathematicians and detectives.

  1. Musical Intelligence

People who fall into this category are usually more sensitive to sounds that other people aren’t aware of. They are able to recognise pitch, rhythm and tone. As a result, they can generate, detect, reflect on and reproduce music as demonstrated by musicians, composers etc. Young adults with this type of intelligence are often singing or drumming. There has been found to be a connection between music and emotions and there may be a shared thinking process between musical and mathematical intelligences

  1. Linguistic Intelligence

This type of intelligence involves being able to think in words and use them to make people understand you and allows people to understand the meaning of words. This is the most widely shared human competence. You adults who fall into this category enjoy reading, writing, telling stories and doing crossword puzzles. It can be seen particularly in novelists, poets, public speakers and journalists.

  1. Interpersonal

Interpersonal intelligence is having the ability to communicate and interact effectively with other people. It involves both verbal and non-verbal communication, being able to sense people’s moods and to take into account and consider different points of view. You can usually find this type of intelligence in teachers, social workers and politicians.

  1. Existential Intelligence

People with existential intelligence tend to tackle deep questions such as the meaning of life. They also have the sensitivity to think about what happens after we die. There has not been much discussion on existential intelligence, however it is also sometimes referred to as moral or spiritual intelligence. People who fall into this category are very philosophical.

  1. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

People who fall into this category are both graceful and co-ordinated when using physical skills. They have a great sense of timing and mind-body co-ordination. People who have this type of intelligence tend to become dancers, surgeons, craftspeople and athletes.

  1. Intra-personal

This type of intelligence allows a person to understand themselves, their thoughts and emotions and are able to use this information to plan their lives. It involves self-appreciation and an understanding of the human condition. Young adults with this type of intelligence tend to be shy, self-motivated and aware of their feelings.

  1. Spatial Intelligence

This type of intelligence involves being able to think about things is three dimensions. The core capabilities involved with this type of intelligence include spatial reasoning, mental imagery and artistic and graphic skills. Young adults who fall into this category may spend their free time drawing or doing jigsaw puzzles. This type of intelligence can usually be found in painters, sailors, pilots and architects.

Whilst reading the list you may have immediately identified the category you think you fit into, however, it is common for people to have more than one of these types of intelligence.

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