October 26, 2016


Different types of intelligence

Since the American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener described different intelligences in 1983, people have proposed various classifications of intelligence types.

The one point that everyone agrees on is that intelligence is more complex than can be determined with standard IQ (intelligence quotient) tests.

Here is a brief summary of the theory of multiple intelligences:

Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence (body smart)

If you are body smart you are good with your hands. You have excellent physical skills, hand-eye coordination and timing. Body smart people include dancers, athletes, mechanics, dentists and surgeons.

Existential intelligence (life smart)

Life smart means that you think deeply about philosophical questions. You are sensitive and care about the meaning of life: Who am I? Why am I here? What happens when I die? Philosophers and ethicists are life smart.

Interpersonal intelligence (people smart)

If you are a people person, you are people smart. You like people, you communicate well and you are sensitive to people’s feelings and motives. You have empathy and you understand others. Nurses, politicians, marketers and teachers, for example, are people smart.

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Intrapersonal intelligence (self smart)

You are self smart if you understand and appreciate your own feelings, thoughts and convictions. Self smart people include philosophers, counsellors, religious leaders and psychologists.

Linguistic intelligence (word smart)

Word smart means that you are good with words and language. You have excellent verbal and written communication skills. Word smart people include authors, writers, critics, reporters and motivational speakers.

Logical-mathematical intelligence (number/reasoning smart)

If you are good at maths, you are number/reasoning smart. You can test hypotheses by calculating and quantifying. You recognise connections and think logically. Typical number/reasoning smart people are scientist, physicists and mathematicians.

Musical intelligence (sound smart)

Sound smart means that you are musical. You can assess the rhythm, tone and tempo of sounds, and you appreciate, create, reproduce and think about music. Singers, musicians and composers are sound smart.

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Naturalist intelligence (nature smart)

You are nature smart if you are sensitive to the natural world of fauna and flora, the earth and sky, and everything that makes up our natural environment. Nature smart people include farmers, game rangers, botanists, biologists, geologists and environmentalists.

Spatial intelligence (picture smart)

Picture smart includes thinking in three dimensions. You can visualise things. Your artistic and graphic skills are good. You find reading maps and doing jigsaw puzzles easy. Sculptors, architects, designers, air-traffic controllers and pilots are picture smart.

We all have the various types if intelligence to a greater or lesser degree. It is possible to enhance our “weaker” intelligences as part of our personal growth and skills development.


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