types of intelligence

We’ve all heard the term “intelligence”, but few people actually know that there are several types of intelligence that describe personalities and the ways in which our brains work.

Psychologist Howard Gardner of Harvard University created the Multiple Intelligences Theory which explains the nine ways in which we apply intelligence for different uses. Although his theory has since been adapted and modified to include additional intelligence types, it still remains a foundation for which the intelligence theory is based on. Which one of these do you think applies to you?

1. Linguistic Intelligence

As self-explanatory as the title suggests, this type of intelligence is all about the processing of verbal skills and the ways in which sounds, meanings and rhythms of words communicate information. Using well-developed language to express complex ideas and thoughts is one of the main traits of an individual who has linguistic intelligence. This type of intelligence is popular amongst people such as writers, poets or public speakers.

2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-mathematical intelligence is when an individual has the ability to think analytically in order to discern patterns, whether they are logical or numerical. Considering hypotheses, calculating and completing mathematical operations are some of the traits of somebody with a logical-mathematical mind. People who hold this type of intelligence like to analyse situations in terms of reasoning and patterns, based strongly on logic. This type of intelligence is popular amongst scientists, mathematicians and detectives.

3. Spatial Intelligence

If you think in pictures and images, you’ve more than likely got spatial intelligence. Visualising clearly and accurately is a trait, alongside mental imagery, image manipulation and an active imagination. Artists, painters and architects tend to have this type of intelligence.

4. Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence

This type of intelligence is all about being able to control one’s body effectively and skilfully using a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also places a huge importance on timings and hand-eye co-ordination. Athletes, surgeons and craftspeople tend to have this type of intelligence.

5. Musical Intelligence

The ability to produce, maintain and appreciate music and rhythm is a type of intelligence described as musical intelligence. This type of intelligence is often linked to emotion as the two are very closely tied, with mathematical intelligent people sharing some of the same cognitive traits as those with musical intelligence.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence can also be described as empathy, as the two are very similar. People with this type of intelligence can detect and identify with the emotions, desires and motivations of others. Understanding other people is one of the main traits of somebody with interpersonal intelligence and this is showcased in many job types, such as care & social workers, actors, politicians and teachers.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence is similar to interpersonal, except this type is concerned with detecting and understanding the emotions of oneself, rather than of somebody else. If you feel in tune with your own thoughts and understand yourself well, holding yourself as a priority and being self-motivated are big traits within this intelligence type. Psychologists, writers and philosophers are popular within this group.

8. Naturalist Intelligence

This type of intelligence is perhaps one of the rarest of the list and this type of intelligence appreciates and identifies everything that comes from nature. Whether it is a certain type of plant or a small woodland animal, this type of intelligence is a large part of our evolutionary history and people such as landscape gardeners, chefs or hunters often have this type of intelligence.

9. Existential Intelligence

This type of intelligence mainly concerns philosophers and the deep-thinkers. Existential intelligence belongs to those who question the world, our existence and everything within it, particularly things relating to the human race.

Although some of these types of intelligence go by other names and you may have heard of others (emotional intelligence being a similar but different type of example), these are the basic types of intelligence that can be found in different people. Which one do you fit most into? Do any of your friends and family fit into any of these categories?


  1. http://www.psychtronics.com/2015/09/the-9-types-of-intelligence.html
  2. http://www.niu.edu/facdev/resources/guide/learning/howard_gardner_theory_multiple_intelligences.pdf

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I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.