Discover the 8 Types of Intelligence

12 May, 2016

Generally, when we think of a smart person, we think of a mathematician who solves problems most people would never understand. Someone who is capable  of doing calculations faster than we could even write them down. This follows a traditional idea of intelligence as a unique skill that has to do with abstract thought.

In 1988, the psychologist Howard Gardner proposed a theory that changed this reductionist idea: the theory of multiple intelligences.

According to the theory of multiple intelligences, there isn’t just one single form of intelligence, but rather several, which develop in different ways within each individual.

“Each human being has a unique combination of intelligence. This is the fundamental educational challenge.”
-Howard Gardner-

puzzle piece brain

This would explain, for example, that some people who are very intelligent in the field of math may not be so good when it comes to establishing relationships. Or that an exceptional musician may not be as gifted in expressing himself through words.

Discover the 8 forms of intelligence and how to promote them

1. Linguistic-verbal intelligence

The people who are most gifted in this particular type have what they call “a way with words.” They learn to read, talk and write early on. They find it easy to understand complex text and usually tend to express themselves very well.

If they have to follow instructions to put together a piece of furniture, for example, they’ll find it much easier if the instructions are written rather than in diagram form.

To promote this type you can read and write (it can be anything: a diary, a blog, Twitter and you can even take a stab at fiction), or play some word games like crosswords or Scrabble

2. Logical-mathematical intelligence

People with a predominant logical-mathematical intelligence tend to solve abstract problems, do calculations and establish quantitative relations with ease.

You know how when you have to split a dinner between a group of people, there’s always that one person that calculates the total precisely? It’s very likely that their logical-mathematical intelligence is more developed.

To promote this type you can do sudokus or play math related games, or day to day math problems in your head, without taking out your calculator

3. Spacial intelligence

People with a highly developed spacial intelligence have very good orientation and tend to understand blueprints and instructions with diagrams.

They often perceived visual details in their surroundings that others may not. Especially when it comes to the structure of buildings and their layout.

To promote this type of intelligence, make routes try to find your way through unknown places using maps, or play with puzzles and models.

4. Musical intelligence

These are the people that tend to have a melody constantly playing in their head (and they often tend to drum along to it with their fingers). It’s very easy for them to internalize songs and repeat them.

It manifests itself mainly by the ability and willingness to play an instrument.

To promote this type you can listen to music; the more and more varied, the better, or learn to play an instrument.

yellow green face music

5. Bodily kinesthetic intelligence

You could say that this form of intelligence is the opposite of clumsiness. People who have high bodily kinesthetic intelligence have a very precise inner consciousness of their bodies. Therefore, they have very good coordination and very fluid movements.

You can observe this, for example, in dancers and people who do certain types of sports, such as rhythmic gymnastics.

To promote this type you can dance, especially if you’re learning a type of dance that helps you practice your coordination and move your different body parts separately, or practice yoga.

6. Intrapersonal intelligence

This is the type for people who are very connected with their inner self. They are very aware of their emotions, thoughts and motivations, of their flaws and virtues, and that allows them to understand themselves and work on their emotional life, such as making decisions or setting goals in accordance to their personality.

To promote this type you can reflect through writing in a diary or journal, practice meditation techniques, or read about psychology and the human mind.

colorful hair

7. Interpersonal intelligence

These people are very skilled at understanding others: their emotions, needs, intentions, etc.

These people tend to catch others attention easily, and are good at relating to others and even serving as leaders.

To promote this type of intelligence you can take part in group activities, especially if cooperation is encouraged, such as in sports or volunteering. Practicing active listening is another way to develop this intelligence.

8. Naturalist intelligence

This is the type of intelligence that characterizes people who have the ability to understand their natural environment: differentiate plants, animals and recognize patterns, be able to categorize species.

This is usually seen in biologists, and in people who like to work with orchards or gardening.

To promote this type you can cultivate your own garden (it can be an urban garden), or go outdoors with a flora and fauna guide

girl through grass

Ultimately, there are no smart people, but rather people with more developed types of intelligences.

It’s good to know what can promote certain intelligences, so that we can develop them as tools, but it’s also important to recognize the essential beauty of this wonderful gift that is the human mind.

Each one of us comes into the world with a greater disposition towards one kind of intelligence or another, but the truth is that they’re all useful and can be developed.