9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type) (2023)

When I was a child, my mom told me I was special—that there was no one on Earth just like me. Now, I’m of two minds when it comes to teaching our children that they’re special.

First, it’s true. We all have strengths, weaknesses, and proclivities that make us different from other people. I’ll get to my second interpretation of teaching everyone they’re special after a deep dive into Howard Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences.

Table of Contents

  1. Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  2. 9 Types of Intelligence
  3. Criticism of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  4. Maybe No One is Special?
  5. Final Thoughts
  6. More Articles About the Types of Intelligence

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Harvard professor Howard Gardner introduced the world to his theory of multiple intelligences in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind. Simply put, the idea is that one’s intellectual intelligence or IQ doesn’t tell the complete story about someone’s full range of potential.

Therefore, Gardner proposed eight types of intelligence to more accurately measure a broader range of human strengths and abilities. Gardner’s types of intelligence are in line with what most of us have been brought up to believe—that we are all special because we all have different strengths and interests.

Let’s take a look at Gardner’s original seven types of intelligence plus two more that he’s added over the years. By examining the definitions and characteristics of each type of intelligence, you should be able to discern which types of intelligence you’re strongest in.

9 Types of Intelligence

Read the following definitions for the nine types of intelligence and then answer the questions in each to see how you stack up.

1. Visual-Spatial Intelligence

Visual-Spatial Intelligence has to do with how well someone is at maneuvering through space and visualizing things. People with high visual-spatial intelligence tend to excel at identifying patterns and interpreting charts and graphs.

If you’re usually the navigator and map reader of your squad, you just might have high visual-spatial intelligence.

Questions: Are you good at reading maps? Do you rarely get lost? Can you visualize objects moving and changing through space? Do you have a good sense of direction?

These could all be signs of high visual-spatial intelligence.

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(Video) 9 Types of Intelligence, Which One Are You?

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2. Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence

Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence is all about words, words, words. We’re talking great readers, writers, and speakers. Generally, if someone can tell a good story and memorize words quickly, they have high linguistic-verbal intelligence.

Questions: Are you a good writer? Do you enjoy playing around with language and wording? Are you good at memorizing things? Can you explain yourself easily to others? Are you a good communicator?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably have high linguistic-verbal intelligence.

3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-Mathematical intelligence is about logical problem solving and number sense. People with high logical-mathematical intelligence would obviously be great at solving math problems and be strong conceptual thinkers. Think of scientists and mathematicians.

Questions: Are you good at math? Do you excel at logical problem-solving? If you’re given a brainteaser, are you usually able to figure it out?

If you said yes to these questions, you’re probably doing well with your logical-mathematical intelligence.

4. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence is how well people can move through space. If you have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, you have excellent control of your body and superb body awareness, meaning you know what your body is doing at any given time. People with this intelligence might excel at sports and dance and have good hand-eye coordination.

Questions: Do you enjoy dance or sports? Do you have good body awareness, meaning are you able to move your body in the way your brain wants? Do you have good hand-eye coordination? Are you good at balancing and moving through space?

You’re probably scoring high in your bodily-kinesthetic intelligence if you’ve said yes to these questions.

5. Musical Intelligence

Can you clap to the beat and sing in tune? You might have a decent musical intelligence. People with above-average musical intelligence can recognize tones and hear patterns in songs. Obviously, they would be drawn to music—both listening and creating.

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(Video) 9 Types Of Intelligence.

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Questions: Can you find the rhythm when a song is playing? Are you able to match the pitch of a musical note? Do you enjoy listening to or playing music? Would your friends describe you as musical?

People who say yes to these questions tend to have high musical intelligence.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is, not surprisingly, about interpersonal or social skills. If someone is empathetic and good at understanding other people’s intentions and emotions, they probably have high interpersonal intelligence.

People with this intelligence excel at group work and keeping the peace in organizations. They’re excellent communicators and sensitive to other people’s needs. They are also able to see other people’s perspectives.

Questions: Are you the peacemaker of your group? Would you describe yourself as empathetic? Are you able to figure out what people’s body language means? Do you tend to know what people are thinking or feeling without having to ask? Are you good with other people’s emotions?

If you said yes to these questions, you probably have high interpersonal intelligence.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

This is self-awareness. Intrapersonal intelligence is all about how well someone is at reflecting on and being aware of their own mental and emotional state at any given time. These are the philosophers and the daydreamers.

Questions: Do you spend time daydreaming? Would people describe you as reflective? Do you know what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it? Have people described you as being self-aware?

If you said yes to these questions, you probably have high intrapersonal intelligence.

8. Naturalistic Intelligence

After publishing Frames of Mind, Gardner discussed other types of intelligence that fit into his theory of multiple intelligences. Other scholars have added others, but Gardner only agreed to this and the next type.

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(Video) The 9 Types of Intelligence and What They Reveal About You

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People with high naturalistic intelligence are nature lovers. They are sensitive to slight changes in their environment and gravitate to exploring nature and examining flora and fauna.

Questions: Do enjoy spending time in nature? Do you have an interest in wild plants and animals? Do you notice subtle changes in the environment? Does being in nature make you feel better?

People who answer yes to these questions tend to have high naturalistic intelligence.

9. Pedagogical Intelligence

These are the effortless teachers. People who can instruct, facilitate, and convey information to others have excellent pedagogical intelligence. It’s one thing to understand a topic, but it’s a very different skillset to be able to help other people understand that same topic.

Questions: Do you enjoy teaching people? Are you good at conveying information to others?

Good teachers probably have high pedagogical intelligence.

Criticism of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Some have criticized the theory of multiple intelligences as nothing more than a list of skills and abilities.[1] Perhaps, “talents” would have been a better way for Gardner to describe his list than “types of intelligence” because it describes what people are drawn to and excel in easily.

This talent in no way dictates what people should do for a living. Instead, thinking you are strong in one intelligence may limit the effort you put into other areas.

Carol Dweck’s growth mindset theory in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, states that when we look at skills and abilities as changeable through hard work and practice, we’re able to change those abilities. This is called a growth mindset.

However, when we think that our skills and abilities are innate, it is less likely that we can improve. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences runs the risk of tricking us into thinking our skills and abilities are in-born and that effort and dedication won’t have much of an impact, which is untrue.

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(Video) The 9 Types Of Intelligence - What's Yours?

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The theory of multiple intelligences should be approached more like Neil Fleming’s theory of learning styles. Fleming proposed that people have different styles of learning or ways that they are better able to learn: reading/writing, kinesthetic, aural, and visual.

The problem with the theory of learning styles, and with types of intelligence, is that there’s not much empirical evidence to show that your learning style or type of intelligence impacts how you learn. In short, just because I’m drawn to nature and good at building campfires, it doesn’t mean that’s how I learn best.

Think talent more than intelligence, and I think you’ll be better able to appreciate Gardner’s theory for what it is.

Maybe No One is Special?

Let’s go back to that idea that everyone is special, something I think Gardner was advocating way back in the ‘80s. Sure, one way to look at it is that we all have skills, abilities, and strengths that set us apart from other people.

This can be a great thing to explore when you’re trying to find your place in the world or choose your career. However, too much navel-gazing and selfish thinking can be destructive, which brings me to my second interpretation of the “everyone is special” movement.

What if no one is special?

Hear me out. If we stop thinking so much about how we’re special, we can spend more time being curious about other people, places, and things.

In my book, Play Your Way Sane: 120 Improv-Inspired Exercises to Help You Calm Down, Stop Spiraling, and Embrace Uncertainty, I have a whole chapter about the advantages of not thinking that your special. It’s called “Your mom was wrong, you aren’t special,” and it’s filled with exercises and games that help people look for what’s special in other people, instead of in themselves. This shift in focus, from internal to external, can make you less anxious and more connected to other people.

Final Thoughts

So, when you’re done thinking about which types of intelligence you’re better at, take more time to think about what other people are good at. Because when we use theories like multiple intelligences and learning styles to help other people look good, it makes all of us, and society in general, look a whole lot better.

More Articles About the Types of Intelligence

  • What’s Your Intelligence Type?
  • Everyone Is Talented In Their Own Way: The 9 Types Of Intelligence You Should Know
  • Which Kind Of Multiple Intelligences Are You Especially Good At?

Featured photo credit: Siora Photography via unsplash.com

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(Video) 9 Types of Intelligence

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FAQs

Which of the 9 types of intelligences most accurately describes your own intellect? ›

Intra-personal Intelligence

Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one's thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one's life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition.

What are the 9 types of intelligence and what does each suggest about an individual? ›

What are the types of Intelligence? There are nine different types of intelligence. These are: Naturalistic, Musical, Logical–mathematical, Existential, Interpersonal, Linguistic, Bodily–kinaesthetic, Intra–personal and Spatial intelligence.

What are the 9 types of intelligence? ›

  • Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence. ...
  • Mathematical-Logical Intelligence Ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns. ...
  • Musical Intelligence. ...
  • Visual-Spatial Intelligence. ...
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. ...
  • Interpersonal Intelligence. ...
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence.

Can a person have all 9 types of intelligence? ›

Gardner does not define intelligence as one single, general ability, but instead he divides it into nine different intelligences. While someone might be particularly strong in one area, such mathematical intelligence, they will actually possess a range of abilities across several intelligence types.

What is the rarest type of intelligence? ›

Spatial intelligence or picture smart is a quality that is perhaps the rarest of all the nine Howard Gardner categorized.

What type of intelligence is teacher? ›

Interpersonal Intelligence

It involves the ability to notice distinctions in others' moods, temperaments, intentions, and motivations. High interpersonal intelligence is often found in teachers, counselors, politicians, and religious leaders.

What is an example of bodily kinesthetic intelligence? ›

Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and crafts people exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.

Can a person have all 8 types of intelligence? ›

An individual can maintain any number of those different intelligences, and every person will have varying levels of each. Not all are measurable through the ever-popular IQ IQ test.

Can you have 2 types of intelligence? ›

Gardner claims that all human beings have multiple intelligences. These multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened or ignored and weakened.

What are the 2 main types of intelligence? ›

Our general intelligence which enables us to learn and recall, comprises our fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence involves comprehension, reasoning and problem solving, while crystallized intelligence involves recalling stored knowledge and past experiences.

Is there someone who has 0 IQ? ›

Can someone actually get this low of a score? In theory, yes. But no one in recorded history has officially scored zero on an IQ test, even if that result is theoretically attainable.

How smart are you if you have an IQ of 128? ›

85 to 114: Average intelligence. 115 to 129: Above average or bright. 130 to 144: Moderately gifted. 145 to 159: Highly gifted.

Can you be born with intelligence? ›

Like most aspects of human behavior and cognition, intelligence is a complex trait that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.

What is the lowest IQ for a genius? ›

Notably, the average IQ score falls between 85 and 115. A score above 140, meanwhile, is considered to be genius level.

What is the lowest IQ known? ›

The lowest IQ score is 0/200, but nobody in recorded history has officially scored 0. Any result below 75 points is an indicator of some form of mental or cognitive impairment.

Is genius IQ rare? ›

The first genius IQ score was around 140. That's about one in every 250 people. But one leading researcher in the 1940s suggested that a genius should have an IQ over 180. That's about one in every 2 million people.

What intelligence does Bill Gates have? ›

People with logical-mathematical intelligence, such as Albert Einstein and Bill Gates, have an ability to develop equations and proofs, make calculations, and solve abstract problems.

What is visual intelligence? ›

Definition. The capacity to perceive the visual world accurately, and/or perform transformations and modifications on perceptions, construct mental representations of visual information, and use the representations to perform activities is often considered visual-spatial intelligence [2, 3, 5].

What is self smart? ›

SELF SMART (intrapersonal intelligence) involves knowledge of the internal aspects of the self, such as knowledge of feelings, the range of emotional responses, thinking processes, and self-reflection. This intelligence allows us to step back from ourselves and watch ourselves as an observer.

What does it mean to be kinetically gifted? ›

To be Kinetic is to have the ability to harness the power of kinesis within one's self. Like Telekinetics, Psychokinetics and those with Extra Sensory Perception, Kinetics have a supernatural ability. This talent allows Kenneth to release tension from his body by voice command.

What celebrity has kinesthetic intelligence? ›

Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and I. M. Pei are famous people who have high bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. In other words, they possess the ability to use their bodies effectively to solve problems or create something.

Are ADHD kinesthetic learners? ›

Studies have shown that kinesthetic learners are sometimes diagnosed with ADHD because they were moving in and out of their seat a lot, they were unable to learn traditionally, and they would lose interest quickly.

Can you have a high IQ and not be smart? ›

You can have a high IQ, but lack education and general knowledge. You can earn a degree yet score a lower IQ. IQ tests measure your ability to reason, grasp ideas, and solve problems.

What are signs of extreme intelligence? ›

Positive signs of high intelligence
  • Good memory and thinking ability. ...
  • Good attitude and hard-working nature. ...
  • General and Tacit Knowledge. ...
  • Good language proficiency and reasoning skills. ...
  • Reliable decision-making. ...
  • Trusted by others. ...
  • High Creativity. ...
  • High Achievements.
Dec 17, 2020

How many types of geniuses are there? ›

Because of these commonalities, it's generally agreed that there are four types of genius. Understanding these four types can help reduce stress levels for several reasons.

What is the second highest IQ? ›

With the IQ level of 225, Chris Hirata is in the second position among the people with the highest IQ in the world. He could have had a starring role in Baby Geniuses. By the time Chris was a preteen, he had his profile in the Chicago Tribute showing his virtuosic ability.

Who has the second highest IQ ever? ›

The highest recorded IQ score belongs to William James Sidis (1898-1944), an American child prodigy with an IQ of 250. He is believed to be the only person in history with an IQ that high. The second-highest recorded IQ score belongs to Terence Tao (b. 1975), a Chinese-American mathematician with an IQ of 225.

What are the 4 types of IQ? ›

Intelligence Quotient (IQ): This is the measure of your comprehension ability", solve maths; memorize things and recall subject matters. 2.
...
.....According to psychologists, there are four types of intelligence:
  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
  • Emotional Quotient (EQ)
  • Social Quotient (SQ)
  • Adversity Quotient (AQ)
Jun 15, 2020

Is it possible to change your IQ? ›

Although science is on the fence about whether you can raise your IQ or not, research does seem to suggest that it's possible to raise your intelligence through certain brain-training activities. Training your memory, executive control, and visuospatial reasoning can help to boost your intelligence levels.

What are the 5 levels of intelligence? ›

Einstein said there are five ascending levels of intelligence: smart, intelligent, brilliant, genius and simple.

Does intelligence increase with age? ›

Scientists have long known that our ability to think quickly and recall information, also known as fluid intelligence, peaks around age 20 and then begins a slow decline.

What are your two strongest intelligence types? ›

In Psychology, there are two types of intelligence, as identified by American psychologists Raymond Cattell and John Horn: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Their theory holds that an individual's overall intelligence is a result of different skills and abilities mixing and interacting together.

Which intelligence is the most important? ›

It used to be that cognitive intelligence was the king of the hill in terms of importance. Then emotional intelligence showed up. But now Cornell University's professor of human development, Robert J. Sternberg, says "successful intelligence" likely matters more than all the other intelligence types you've heard about.

Can a person with low IQ be a genius? ›

They can, but it's not just that. It's that IQ is a very noisy measure of all intellectual talents averaged together, and some people with unimpressive general IQs can still be extremely talented in particular fields.

Can you have a negative IQ? ›

IQ is a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. It is statistically possible to have a negative IQ. IQ -5 is 7 standard deviations below the mean (Z-score -7.0) and dumber than 1 in 781 billion people, or around 1000 times the world's population.

Did IQ drop when away? ›

Ripley : Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away? Ripley : They cut the power.

Is 129 IQ gifted? ›

Although there are no standard IQ levels of intellectual giftedness, some experts suggest the following IQ ranges: Mildly gifted: 115 to 129. Moderately gifted: 130 to 144. ighly gifted: 145 to 159.

What if your IQ is 100? ›

Scores between 80 and 89 are classified as low average. So in most cases, if you receive an IQ score of around 100, then you have what is considered an average IQ. Don't worry—you are in good company. Most people score within one standard deviation of this average.

What is an IQ of 100 like? ›

It signifies you received a perfect score on an IQ exam. The exam is normed/designed in such a way that a score of 100 represents an average - exactly in the center - result. Approximately 68 percent of persons fall within 15 points of 100 in this range. It's like being average in height – you're right in the center!

Who has stronger genes mother or father? ›

Genetically, a person actually carries more of his/her mother's genes than his/her father's. The reason is little organelles that live within cells, the? mitochondria, which are only received from a mother. Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell and is inherited from the mother.

What do mothers pass on to their daughters? ›

The mitochondrial genes always pass from the mother to the child. Fathers get their mitochondrial genes from their mothers, and do not pass them to their children.

Is having a high IQ genetic? ›

Researchers have previously shown that a person's IQ is highly influenced by genetic factors, and have even identified certain genes that play a role. They've also shown that performance in school has genetic factors. But it's been unclear whether the same genes that influence IQ also influence grades and test scores.

Which theory of intelligence is the most accurate? ›

The most widely accepted theory is a synthesis sometimes referred to as CHC theory, named after Cattell, Horn, and Carroll, 11 the authors of the original theories that have been synthesized. Carroll's theory itself is a synthesis of earlier psychometric theories of intelligence.

What is the most accurate measure of intelligence? ›

Individual intelligence or IQ tests, administered on a one-to-one basis by a psychologist, are the preferred way to measure intelligence.

What are your top 3 intelligences? ›

Many of us are familiar with three broad categories in which people learn: visual learning, auditory learning, and kinesthetic learning. Beyond these three categories, many theories of and approaches toward human learning potential have been established.

What is intelligence best described as? ›

Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Is IQ Genetic or learned? ›

Researchers have previously shown that a person's IQ is highly influenced by genetic factors, and have even identified certain genes that play a role. They've also shown that performance in school has genetic factors. But it's been unclear whether the same genes that influence IQ also influence grades and test scores.

What kind of intelligence is a lawyer? ›

According to the American Bar Association, various studies have shown that lawyers overall score high in certain forms of intelligence—typically the cognitive intelligences of linguistics and logical/mathematical—but low in emotional intelligence.

Does IQ change with age? ›

A person's IQ score can certainly change with age. Studies in adolescents suggest that IQ typically increases as young adolescents age, which seems plausible considering that general life experiences and educational experiences (such as schooling) change both the brain and the intelligence.

Can your IQ change? ›

Study finds brain structure and IQ can change during adolescence. A new study confirms what parents have long suspected: Adolescence can do a number on kids' brains. Researchers have found that IQ can rise or fall during the teen years and that the brain's structure reflects this uptick or decline.

Who has the highest IQ ever? ›

The appropriately named Marilyn vos Savant is in a class of her own. According to Guinness World Records, her astonishing IQ of 228 is the highest ever recorded. The daughter of an Italian and a German immigrant, vos Savant was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1946.

What are 10 signs that you're way more intelligent than you think you are? ›

9 Signs You're More Intelligent Than You Think, According to...
  • You're creative. Dr. ...
  • You're messy. ...
  • You're curious. ...
  • You talk to yourself. ...
  • You have high self-control. ...
  • You're good with being by yourself. ...
  • You're funny. ...
  • You're open-minded.
Jul 11, 2019

What are signs of above average intelligence? ›

Positive signs of high intelligence
  • Good memory and thinking ability. ...
  • Good attitude and hard-working nature. ...
  • General and Tacit Knowledge. ...
  • Good language proficiency and reasoning skills. ...
  • Reliable decision-making. ...
  • Trusted by others. ...
  • High Creativity. ...
  • High Achievements.
Dec 17, 2020

What is real intelligence? ›

It is the topmost true intelligence dealing with reality in terms of the world models and data/information/knowledge representations for cognition and reasoning, understanding and learning, problem-solving, predictions and decision-making, and interacting with the environment.

Which best describes genius? ›

genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability. knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance.

What is intelligence age? ›

mental age, intelligence test score, expressed as the chronological age for which a given level of performance is average or typical. An individual's mental age is then divided by his chronological age and multiplied by 100, yielding an intelligence quotient (IQ).

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