Intelligence is so much more than just how high your IQ is. According to multiple intelligence theory, there are many kinds of intelligence. Read on to find out which is your strongest.

We often think of intelligence as our intellectual abilities. We also think our intelligence is inborn, easily measurable and unchanging. But the theory of multiple intelligences indicates this is certainly not the whole truth about intelligence.

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligence. He developed his theory in 1983 and outlined it in a book called “Frames of Mind”. He describes eight intelligences and outlined their characteristics.

The different types of intelligence in Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory are:

  • Musical-rhythmic and harmonic.
  • Visual-spatial.
  • Verbal-linguistic.
  • Logical-mathematical.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic.
  • Interpersonal.
  • Intrapersonal.
  • Naturalistic.

Gardner suggests that we may be stronger in some areas than others but are likely to have a range of intelligences. Learning about your own intelligences can help you to develop your strengths and make the best use of them. It also allows you to work to develop the areas where you may be weaker.

1. Visual-Spatial Intelligence

If you have good visual-spatial intelligence, you are excellent at visualizing things. You may be particularly good at reading maps and charts and can easily understand all sorts of visual material such as diagrams. You are also pretty good at parking your car in a small space!

People who are strong in this type of intelligence make good artists, architects, designers, explorers and engineers.

2. Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence

If you have good linguistic-verbal intelligence, you will likely have a way with words. You will be able to write and speak well and can often communicate ideas easily to others. You may also have an amazing memory for words, names and other written and verbal information. People with this intelligence often enjoy giving presentations and engaging in debates with others. Alternatively, you may prefer to communicate through the written word.

People who are strong in this type of intelligence make good writers, journalists, lawyers and teachers.
If you have strong logical-mathematical intelligence, you are probably happiest working in a logical way. You are likely excellent at analysing things and recognizing patterns and relationships between things. People with this intelligence are able to think conceptionally about complicated ideas.

People who are strong in this area make good mathematicians, scientists, computer programmers and accountants.

If you have this kind of intelligence, you will have good coordination and dexterity. You will be good at creating or fixing things with your hands. People with this intelligence are good at all things that involve moving the body, including sport and dance. People who are skilled in this form of intelligence may also find they learn things better by doing them rather than having them explained or following instructions.

Good careers for this type of person include builder, athlete, dancer, sculptor or actor.

5. Musical Intelligence

This one is fairly self-explanatory. People with this intelligence will enjoy all kinds of music and rhythm and will be good at performing and composition. They will often be pitch perfect and have an incredible memory for musical pieces.

Those with this intelligence will enjoy careers in all types of musical fields, including musician, composer, singer, conductor, or music teacher.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence

If you have strong interpersonal intelligence, you will be able to relate to and interact with others easily. You will be excellent at verbal communication but also able to read body language. People with this intelligence are good at resolving conflict with and between others and are generally great people to talk to whenever you have any problems.

Good careers for people with this type of intelligence include counsellor, psychologist, diplomat, politician, philosopher and salesperson.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

If you have high intrapersonal intelligence, you will be very self-aware and have a complete understanding of your emotional states, feelings and motivations. People with this skill will enjoy spending time in self-reflection and can often be quite introverted types. They will be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

Good career choices for these type will include anything that takes lots of thought and consideration. These types will often want a career that makes a difference to the world. Philosopher, scientist, writer, filmmaker and charity worker would suit them well.

8. Naturalistic Intelligence

This intelligence was a later addition to Garner’s theory. Individuals who are high in this type of intelligence will enjoy a deep connection with the natural world. They will be happiest when they can spend time out in nature rather than in an office or classroom.

Good careers for those with this type of intelligence include field biologist, zoologist, explorer, gardener, conservationist or farmer.

Closing thoughts

Garner’s multiple intelligence theory is a fascinating way to look at human intelligence. We all know people who are clever or wise at different things and we need all these types of intelligence to enrich our world. By embracing our own skills and strengths, we can achieve more success and feel happy and confident in living life our way.

Understanding these different types of intelligence is also useful if you have children or spend a lot of time with young people. By understanding the multiple intelligence theory, we can help these young people reach their full potential and feel proud of their unique gifts.


  1. Gardner H. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books; 1983.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gary Hynous

    I enjoyed reading about Gardener’s Intelligence theories. Interesting to pick yourself out of the various possibilities. Thanks. Gary

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