The nine types of intelligence


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The nine types of intelligence

  1. 1. The Nine Types of Intelligence By Howard Gardner1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)It designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as wellas sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This abilitywas clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continuesto be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of ourconsumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in thediscrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. Thisintelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, asdemonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners.Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; andmathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Youngadults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. Theyare usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositionsand hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceiverelationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoningskills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually welldeveloped in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logicalintelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn toarithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.4. Existential IntelligenceSensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as themeaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.5. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart”)Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. Itinvolves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctionsamong others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability toentertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibitinterpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders amongtheir peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings andmotives. 1
  2. 2. 6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety ofphysical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skillsthrough mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.7. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express andappreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order andmeaning 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 ofintelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.8. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart”)Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts andfeelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personalintelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. Itis evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may beshy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities includemental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and anactive imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatialintelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes orjigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.From: Overview of the Multiple Intelligences Theory. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and ThomasArmstrong.comAnother material:One of the smartest people I know can’t spell worth beans (or, benes as I am pretty sure shewould write) and has a particular way of pronouncing foreign-based words (sorbet issoibert; café au lait is coffee oh loddy). Meanwhile, my friend who can speak five languagesis entirely flummoxed when it comes time to calculate the tip for a waiter.So what’s going on with these two brainiacs—am I, simply, surrounded by idiot savants?Not according to Dr. Howard Gardener who developed the theory of multiple intelligences,going beyond the IQ test to discover the many ways humans are smart. He identifiedintelligent abilities including language, music, spatial reference, kinesthesia, naturalistic,and possibly existential intelligence. Gardner’s definitions include ways to improve your 2
  3. 3. weaker areas—strengthening your brain. Learning—even about learning—reduces the riskof Alzheimer’s says the American Academy of Neurology.These are Gardner’s nine types of intelligence, as described in A Better Brain at Any Age(Conari, 2009) by Sondra Kornblatt.:1. Linguistic intelligence reflects the ability to read, write, tell stories, and learn languages,grammar, and syntax. Strengthen this ability by studying a new language, improvingvocabulary, and writing.2. Your friendly computer programmer has logical-mathematical intelligence. She’scomfortable with numbers, logic, reasoning, and abstractions. To increase logical ability, geta book of logic games, knit a sweater, and learn computer programming. Or watch a movieon video, and stop it to predict what will happen.3. Those with strong musical intelligence are sensitive to sounds, tones, rhythms, pitch,musical keys, and structure of the songs (from verse and chorus to symphonies). Borrowdifferent types of music CDs, sing with the radio, be quiet and listen to the sounds aroundyou.4. Those with strong spatial intelligence can imagine, understand, and represent the visual-spatial world. They may have a good sense of direction, hand-eye coordination, and visualmemory. Some people, for instance, can visualize how furniture fits in a room withoutmeasurements, or buy a scarf that matches the blue in a blouse at home (perfect “chromaticpitch.”) To strengthen your spatial intelligence, be a backseat driver and provide directionsfor a trip, fit the groceries in the bag or the car, play with jigsaw puzzles and mazes, buildsome Lego’s, or sculpt some clay.5. Remember Gene Kelly performing “Gotta Dance!” in Singing in the Rain? He hadbodily-kinesthetic intelligence, as do athletes, builders, actors, or surgeons (if they havefine motor skills). Yoga is a great way to increase this ability. Make crafts or build, ride abike, dance, and learn tai chi or other sports.6. Someone with interpersonal intelligence is good at organizing people and is aware ofmoods and motivations. He or she can communicate and lead well. To get more peopleskills, practice active listening—that is, repeat back what you think someone said. Learnabout the types of personalities with the Myers-Briggs test (psychological preferences suchas extraversion and introversion) or the Enneagram (a theory of nine personality types—possibly centuries old).7. Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to be self-aware and explore emotions, goals andmotivations. This perspective on the human condition is used by writers, philosophers,psychologists, and theologians. To improve your intrapersonal intelligence, “knowthyself”—write in a journal, meditate, try the personality tests mentioned above.8. Individuals with green thumbs and “horse whisperers” have naturalistic intelligence.They are sensitive to nature and may easily recognize and classify species. To get morenaturalistic intelligence, expose yourself to the great outdoors: plant a seed, volunteer at an 3
  4. 4. animal shelter, take a walk with a naturalist at the park, read about classifications of animals(kids’ books can be a great place to start).9. Spiritual or existential intelligence fits all Dr. Gardner’s criteria except for associationwith a specific brain specialization—though this intelligence could be a whole-brainfunction. Those with this ability explore questions about life, death, and what lies beyondthe subjective perspective. Prayer and meditation increase whole-brain communication andlessen the blood flow to the parietal lobes (which give a subjective sense of time and space).Explore what lies beyond through inquiry, reading, or talking with others. 4