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Which of the 9 types of intelligence do you possess?

Intelligence can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived in the business world, but did you know there are actually nine different types of intelligence?

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Intelligence is more than book smarts

When you hear the word “intelligence,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do you think of someone with a super high IQ? Someone who’s book smart? Street smart?

Intelligence can absolutely mean different things to different people; in fact, the word “intelligence” is a fairly broad term. By and large, we’ve come to interpret intelligence to mean “smart” and while that is true, people can be “intelligent” in many different areas. There is certainly no one subject, or area that defines and explains intelligence.

Different types of intelligence

Psychologist, Howard Gardner detailed nine different types of intelligence that humans have and how each one functions. This could help us understand while one friend may be highly gifted musically, another struggles to hear the difference in pitches.

Likewise, it shows that not everyone excels in all areas; we all have weaknesses and strengths. Gardner published a book, titled, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” in which he explains, “there exists a multitude of intelligences, quite independent of each other, [and] that each intelligence has its own strengths and constraints.”

Each type of intelligence can help us gain a better insight into many different aspects of our lives as it reinforces the notion that every individual thinks and learns in many different ways. Rather than focusing on demonstrating “the facts” what would happen if you took into consideration musical aptitude, logical reasoning, or spatial intelligence? Would you engage more members of your audience? Gardner contends, when these nine forms of intelligence are taken into consideration, everyone can flourish.

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What are the nine types of intelligence?

According to Dr. Gardner, the first type of intelligence is spatial. Spatial intelligence includes how you visualize and judge the world around you. It’s your ability to see and interpret the world in 3D.

The second type of intelligence is naturalist. You may be strong in this area if you are highly attuned to living things; having the ability to read and understand nature and all living things. Farmers, biological scientists, and even hunters are examples of individuals with high naturalist intelligence.

The third type is musical intelligence. Musically intelligent individuals are able to discern sounds, differentiate pitch, understand tone, rhythm, and pitch. Often times these individuals can pick out harmonies from melodies, play a musical instrument, compose music, or sing very well.

Number four on the intelligence list is logical, or mathematical intelligence. This type of intelligence includes logic, reasoning, numbers, quantifying things, and critical thinking. This also has to do with having the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system.

The fifth type of intelligence is existential intelligence. Existential intelligence seems to be in opposition to spiritual intelligence according to some scholars. However, Gardner stated that this type of intelligence includes tackling the “big questions” like why we live, why we die, and what our purpose is on Earth.

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Gardner’s sixth type of intelligence is interpersonal intelligence. This type of intelligence includes sensing people’s feelings and motives. Individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group.

The seventh type of intelligence is bodily or kinesthetic. This type of intelligence involves coordinating your body with your mind. People who have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence should be generally good at physical activities such as sports, dance, acting, and making things. This also includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses. Soldiers, police officers, athletes, dancers, and actors are all examples of individuals with high kinesthetic intelligence.

Number eight on the intelligence list is linguistic. These individuals will be able to find the right words to express themselves. They are also typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates.

The final type of intelligence is intrapersonal intelligence. This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what one’s strengths or weaknesses are, what makes one unique, being able to predict one’s own reactions or emotions including what you want or need.


What can you learn from all of this?

The takeaway here is that no matter which area(s) you excel in, learning about the other areas can help you develop your weaker area(s).

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It also helps you gain insight into what makes other people tick. In the workplace, having strong interpersonal skills can help you relate to your coworkers quickly, but having strong logical intelligence may help you solve problems more efficiently.

No one area is more important than another, but each area plays an important role in our lives. Which area(s) do you think you are most gifted in and which area(s) do you think you could improve upon?


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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