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9 Types Of Intelligence – Infographic


This infographic shows that being good at math or languages are not the only two ways to be smart.

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 [1]:

  • Naturalist (nature smart)

  • Musical (sound smart)

  • Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)

  • Existential (life smart)

  • Interpersonal (people smart)

  • Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)

  • Linguistic (word smart)

  • Intra-personal (self smart)

  • Spatial (picture smart)

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 likely 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 [2]:

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 like.

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.