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The Eight Types of Intelligence -By Howard Gardner October 19, 2011

1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)

Designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations).  This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.  It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.


  • You like the wilderness
  • You read about nature
  • You stop to look at bugs
  • You categorize things
  • You read about explorers
  • You collect things
  • You enjoy studying plant parts
  • You notice characteristics

2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)

Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone.  This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners.  Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves.  They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.


  • You’d like to be a drummer
  • You can read music
  • You criticize a new song when others just accept it
  • You enjoy a few types of music
  • You can figure out how to play a tune on an instrument
  • You’ve considered writing songs
  • You notice patterns
  • You remember old songs


3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations.  It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns.  Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives.  Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships.  They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.


  • You enjoy solving mysteries
  • You can solve logic problems
  • You’re good at math
  • You like to put things in their places
  • You’ve always been interested in scientific discoveries
  • You can be bossy
  • You like to figure out how things work
  • You’re good with computers


4. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart”)

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others.  It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives.  Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.


  • You sometimes feel like a mind reader
  • You hate injustice
  • You’re a good listener
  • You see through people who aren’t being honest
  • You know how others feel
  • You often lend a shoulder
  • You find it hard to be mean
  • You enjoy deep conversations


5. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)

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 craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.


  • You’re good at sports
  • You can dance well
  • You talk with your hands
  • You’re interested in acting
  • You like to build things
  • You clown around in class
  • You have great balance
  • You can throw a ball accurately


6. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings.  Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language.  Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.


  • You are a good writer
  • You’re good with crossword puzzles
  • People say you “have a way with words”
  • You tell good stories
  • People say you’re funny
  • You like to debate or argue
  • You explain things well
  • You have a great vocabulary or enjoy learning new words and their origins

7. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart”)

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.  It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.  These young adults may be shy.  They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.


  • You think a lot
  • People think you’re dreamy
  • You can analyze dreams
  • You are self-critical
  • You second guess yourself
  • You really get into a good book
  • You can break down complicated ideas
  • You judge people


8. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)

Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions.  Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination.  Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.


  • You can put puzzles together
  • You appreciate art or photography
  • You prefer geometry over algebra
  • You study with charts and pictures
  • You can find your way with a map
  • You make outlines when you write a paper
  • You doodle or draw
  • You notice details

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