Types Of Intelligence


In 1983 psychologist Howard Gardener wrote a book describing multiple types of intelligence.  Before then, ability in mathematics and language qualified for intelligence, but other abilities did not.

If you click on the image at the top of this post, you will see an infographic showing the 9 types of intelligence described in Howard Gardner’s book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  If you click on the link at the bottom of this post, you will be taken to an article describing them in greater detail.

What other scientists thought were just soft-skills, such as interpersonal skills, Gardener realized were types of intelligence. It makes sense. Just as being a math whiz gives you the ability to understand the world, so does being “people smart” give you the same ability, just from a different perspective. Not knowing math you may not calculate the rate at which the universe is expanding, but you are likely to have the skills to find the right person who will.

Here are the nine types of intelligence, as seen by Gardner:

Naturalist (nature smart)
Musical (sound smart)
Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
Existential (life smart)
Interpersonal (people smart)
Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
Linguistic (word smart)
Intra-personal (self smart)
Spatial (picture smart)

Source: 9 Types Of Intelligence – Funders and Founders

About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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4 Responses to Types Of Intelligence

  1. The best kind of intelligence that is missed in the above list is “common sense.” Where I work, I have seen high school drop-outs with lots of common sense who are way smarter that the university grads with multiple degrees. Sort of makes one pause and wonder…..

    • arjaybe says:

      I wonder if Existential (life smart),
      Interpersonal (people smart), and/or
      Intra-personal (self smart) would contribute to common sense.

  2. Ralph Croning says:

    Existential, possibly because it can be instinctual. The other two aren’t forms of intelligence, in my opinion. Those are social skills that can be taught to even those with diminished mental capacities.

    • arjaybe says:

      What they used to call “soft skills” that didn’t really qualify as “intelligence.” 🙂

      Gardner and his idea have come under a lot of criticism. I think that’s inevitable because, by opening up the definition of intelligence, he’s also implied that it can be opened up even more. So the categories and definitions become arbitrary and debatable. That’s actually one of the reasons I like it. Heck, I think our immune system is intelligent.-)

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