The 9 Types Of Intelligence: What’s Yours?

The 9 Types Of Intelligence: What’s Yours?

Intelligence, a complex and multifaceted concept, has long fascinated psychologists, educators, and the general public. While many people associate intelligence with academic prowess or IQ scores, the truth is that intelligence manifests itself in various ways. The theory of multiple intelligences, proposed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, suggests nine distinct types of intelligence, each with unique characteristics and potential for development.

Linguistic Intelligence

Those with solid linguistic intelligence have a way with words. They’re skilled at reading, writing, and speaking and often excel in journalism, teaching, and public speaking. Famous writers like Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling are prime examples of people with high linguistic intelligence. To nurture this type of intelligence, try activities like writing stories, participating in debates, or learning a new language.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

People with high logical-mathematical intelligence are natural problem-solvers. They have a knack for numbers, patterns, and logical reasoning, making them well-suited for careers in fields like mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking are two notable figures who exemplified this type of intelligence. Engaging in activities like solving puzzles, playing chess, or coding can help develop logical-mathematical intelligence.

Spatial Intelligence

Spatial intelligence involves the ability to visualize and manipulate objects in three-dimensional space. Those with vital spatial intelligence often excel in architecture, graphic design, and sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci, renowned for his artistic and inventive genius, is a prime example of someone with high spatial intelligence. Sketching, building models, and playing video games that require spatial awareness can all help nurture this type of intelligence.

Musical Intelligence

Individuals with high musical intelligence have a natural affinity for music. They’re sensitive to rhythm, pitch, and tone and often have a talent for playing instruments or singing. Mozart and Beyoncé are two famous examples of people with exceptional musical intelligence. To cultivate this intelligence, try learning an instrument, joining a choir, or simply listening to various music.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence involves a heightened awareness of one’s body and the ability to use it skillfully. People with this type of intelligence often excel in sports, dance, and other physical activities. Athletes like Serena Williams and dancers like Misty Copeland are great examples of individuals with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Engaging in sports, practicing yoga, or learning a new physical skill can all help develop this type of intelligence.

Interpersonal Intelligence

Those with solid interpersonal intelligence are skilled at understanding and interacting with others. They’re often empathetic and communicative and can read social cues effectively. People with high interpersonal intelligence usually thrive in psychology, social work, and politics. Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela are two notable examples of individuals with exceptional interpersonal intelligence. To nurture this intelligence, try volunteering, joining social clubs, or practicing active listening.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence involves a deep understanding of oneself. People with high intrapersonal intelligence are self-aware, reflective, and in tune with their emotions and motivations. They often excel in fields that require self-reflection and self-discipline, such as writing, philosophy, and entrepreneurship. Mahatma Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt are two individuals with vital intrapersonal intelligence. Keeping a journal, practicing mindfulness, and setting personal goals can all help develop this type of intelligence.

Naturalistic Intelligence

Individuals with high naturalistic intelligence have a deep appreciation for and understanding of the natural world. They’re often skilled at recognizing and categorizing plants, animals, and other natural phenomena. People with this type of intelligence usually excel in fields like biology, ecology, and agriculture. Charles Darwin and Jane Goodall are two famous examples of individuals with exceptional naturalistic intelligence. Spending time in nature, gardening, or studying the natural sciences can all help nurture this intelligence.

Existential Intelligence

Existential intelligence involves grappling with profound questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life and the nature of reality. People with high existential intelligence are often drawn to philosophy, theology, and cosmology. Plato and Carl Sagan are two notable examples of individuals with existential solid intelligence. Engaging in philosophical discussions, studying world religions, or contemplating the mysteries of the universe can all help cultivate this type of intelligence.

Identifying Your Dominant Intelligence Type(s)

So, how can you identify your dominant intelligence type(s)? One way is through self-assessment. Take some time to reflect on your strengths, interests, and natural inclinations. You can also find various online tests and resources to help you determine your intelligence profile. Remember that while it’s important to recognize and leverage your strengths, it’s equally valuable to acknowledge and work on your weaker areas.

Developing a Well-Rounded Intellect

While most people have one or two dominant intelligence types, it’s important to remember that all nine intelligences can be developed and strengthened over time. Nurturing multiple intelligences can lead to a more well-rounded and adaptable intellect, which can benefit personal and professional contexts. To improve weaker areas of intelligence, try stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging in activities that challenge you in new ways. Embrace the idea of lifelong learning, and never stop seeking new opportunities for intellectual growth.

Case Study: Brett’s Journey to Discovering His Unique Intelligence Profile

A 35-year-old marketing manager, Brett had always considered himself an average student. He struggled through school, never quite excelling in any particular subject. Despite his lackluster academic performance, Brett succeeded in his career thanks to his ability to connect with people and think creatively.

One day, Brett stumbled upon an article about the nine types of intelligence. Intrigued, he took an online assessment to determine his intelligence profile. The results surprised him: Brett scored highly in interpersonal, linguistic, and spatial intelligence.

With this new knowledge, Brett began to see his strengths in a new light. He realized that his ability to communicate effectively and build strong client relationships directly resulted from his interpersonal intelligence. His talent for crafting compelling marketing copy stemmed from his linguistic intelligence, while his knack for creating visually appealing designs was linked to his spatial intelligence.

Inspired by his newfound understanding of his unique intelligence profile, Brett explored ways to develop his strengths further. He enrolled in a public speaking course to refine his communication skills, joined a creative writing group to nurture his linguistic intelligence, and took up photography as a hobby to cultivate his spatial intelligence. By embracing and investing in his natural talents, Brett enhanced his performance at work and discovered a renewed sense of self-confidence and personal fulfillment.

Key Takeaways

  • According to Howard Gardner’s theory, intelligence is complex and manifests in various ways, with nine distinct types.
  • The nine types are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential.
  • Each type has unique characteristics and potential for development.
  • Self-assessment and resources can help identify one’s dominant intelligence type(s).
  • Nurturing multiple intelligences and challenging weaker areas can lead to a well-rounded intellect.
  • Lifelong learning and embracing unique intellectual potential are essential for personal and professional success.


The theory of multiple intelligences reminds us that intelligence is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Each of us has unique intelligence profiles, with strengths and weaknesses across the nine different types of intelligence. By identifying and embracing your dominant intelligence type(s), you can better understand your mental landscape and play to your natural strengths. At the same time, don’t be afraid to explore and develop your weaker areas of intelligence. After all, a well-rounded intellect is a powerful tool for navigating the complexities of life. So, what’s your intelligence type? Take some time to find out, and then work on cultivating your unique intellectual potential.