Different Types of Intelligence
and how to identify and use them!

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Intelligence is not just one thing - there are different types of intelligence and tests to measure them. Here, we will explain them in more detail.

Have you heard of book smart and street smart? Well, did you know that while those are oversimplifications of the theory of multiple intelligences, they are not wrong? You can be smart in many different ways. The combination is what makes the difference.

Human intelligence is so advanced that we have developed multiple areas in our brains that are focused on specific cognitive abilities, and training each of them makes us overall smarter and therefore more capable of surviving and thriving in the society we have created for us.

To know the different types of abilities helps us get a deeper understanding of ourselves and the natural world around us. This goes from existential intelligence to interpersonal intelligence to musical intelligence. Which of these, do you think, holds the most weight?

Close-up of dictionary entry for the word focus

What is Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences?

Howard Gardner, a Harvard University psychologist, has coined the theory of there being eight types of intelligence in humans.

1. Interpersonal intelligence
2. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
3. Logical-mathematical intelligence
4. Musical intelligence
5. Linguistic intelligence
6. Intrapersonal intelligence
7. Naturalistic intelligence
8. Spatial intelligence

Let's get into the details of each of the eight intelligences:

What is Logical-Mathematical Intelligence?

Logical-mathematical intelligence is mostly non-verbal and shows off your problem-solving ability. It is all about detecting a problem and knowing how to solve it without needing to verbalize it.

This type of intelligence allows for strategizing - a skill you use for solving mysteries, playing strategy games, or fixing a computer for example.

People with high logical-mathematical intelligence are good at comprehending cause-and-effect relationships. They can easily recognize and analyze processes and derive generalized problems from individual ones, identifying essential information while omitting less important details.

People with high logical intelligence are more likely to succeed in the fields of software development, project management, systems engineering, and actuarial and political science.

a hand connecting notes with string on a white board

What is Linguistic Intelligence?

This type of intelligence is all about talking, writing, and reading. Is it easy for you to learn languages? Have you experimented with writing poems or stories in your free time? Then linguistic intelligence is quite dominant in you.

As the basis of direct and confidential communication, linguistic intelligence is essential to human relations. In fact, many other forms of intelligence cannot be fully utilized without it.

Linguistic intelligence encompasses the knowledge of language, including vocabulary, fluency, and the ability to comprehend and recall words and phrases. It also includes the ability to memorize information and to remember it accurately and in detail.

The ability to use language correctly is essential for many activities and is indispensable in our daily lives. University professors, lecturers and teachers, TV and radio presenters, communications specialists, interpreters, tourist guides, politicians, and many others must have high linguistic intelligence to succeed.

a man sitting in front of a microphone at a radio station

What is Spatial Intelligence?

Ever wondered how you can look at a map and figure out where you need to go next? Well, this is due to Spatial Intelligence. It is your capacity to think in three dimensions.

Also called "Visual-spatial intelligence", it is the ability to recognize and correctly place visual structures of two- and three-dimensional objects in different positions and directions (e.g., rotate, mirror, etc.).

A person with strong spatial awareness has excellent control over his or her space and surroundings and a strong sense of direction and can find his or her way in less-familiar circumstances.

Architects, designers, surgeons, pilots, and archaeologists are among those who need high visual-spatial intelligence to succeed in their work.

a designer sitting in an office full of concept designs and drawings

What is Musical Intelligence?

You do not only love music but understand it as well? Can you read notes or even play an instrument or sing? That is what musical intelligence is all about. It means to be able to recognize musical patterns like rhythm, tone, and pitch.

That doesn't mean the patterns have to be musical. Musical intelligence, therefore, means you learn best when you make out patterns in the material you're working with.

Does that sound like you? Then you'd do very well as a singer, music teacher or even a composer!

a black and white photo of a woman playing guitar and singing into a microphone on a dark stage

What is Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence?

Can you dance? Or are you good at sports? Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to do all that. From dancing to acting, to running and jumping. Keeping fit means staying smart!

People with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence learn faster by doing things. Theory is good, but practice makes them perfect.

They also like to explore things and discover the world by experiencing it first-hand. These people are great builders, dancers, actors and do great in jobs where they have to use their hands or even their whole body.

a sculptor working on a large sculpture of a human head

What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

This is the ability to look within you and reflect as well as act according to your senses. It is all about knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. You know yourself and this helps you understand others as well.

These people are great analysts and make for good writers and scientists!

People with high intrapersonal intelligence also prefer to work alone most of the time and are rarely extroverted since they prefer to think to themselves and reflect on their own before engaging with others and sharing their beliefs and findings. Most philosophers share that trait.

a close up of a woman wearing safety glasses looking to the left

What is Interpersonal Intelligence?

If you are a team player, this is the type of intelligence you use when engaging with others - be it in a conversation or in conflict. People with interpersonal intelligence know how to use language to work well with other people.

People with strong interpersonal intelligence make for great psychologists and counselors - or even politicians, according to Howard Gardner.

They show a high level of understanding and do well in group settings due to their ability to see from more than just their own perspective and resolve conflicts.

a counselor sitting at a desk and helping a woman with a task

What is Naturalistic Intelligence?

Who doesn't like hiking, being out in nature, and engaging with the wildlife? Well, people with low naturalistic intelligence don't. But those who care about the environment, animals, and recycling for example. You could say, some people are street smart, and these are nature smart.

Do you find yourself to be especially interested in botany and well versed in everything the natural world has to offer? Or animals and how to care for them? Then you might be of strong naturalistic intelligence and would do very well as a gardener, farmer, biologist, or maybe an environmentalist!

bare hands digging into soil to plant a vegetable

The multiple intelligences theory is not the only one out there and has invited advocates and critics alike. Some say that Gardner's theory is rather a list of competencies, not intelligence. It can also be argued that the theory lacks focus. According to Gottfredson in 2004, the way we determine someone's intelligence is not lead by competencies but the concept of general intelligence "g". At the same time, doesn't it help to put intelligence under a microscope and define its facets?

For us, the multiple intelligences theory can help to define each individual's competencies and the sum of those may lead to a better understanding of one's general intelligence. After all, we are all simply a sum of our parts, right? This could very well refer to our intelligence as well. That also means that the multiple intelligences theory may not be limited to eight. Naturalistic intelligence was added later on by Gardner and wasn't included in the original list.

Since there are many more than just Howard Gardner's theory, let us look at a selection of some other types of intelligence!

Fluid Intelligence vs. Crystallized Intelligence

The Cattell-Horn theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence was coined by psychologist Raymond Catell and his student John Horn. While the theory is a lot narrower than Howard's by limiting multiple intelligences to two instead of eight, it is also more straightforward.

Both types combine multiple competencies and build the foundation on which our general intelligence is built.

What is Fluid Intelligence?

  • previous experience
  • accumulated knowledge
  • abstract thinking
  • learning

Fluid Intelligence is what you use when presented with challenges. It is the ability to adjust and use your brains for new purposes and adjusting as to such.

What is Crystallized Intelligence?

  • reasoning
  • problem-solving
  • skills like riding a bike

These are the competencies you have acquired throughout your life that stick with you. You constantly build on that and &qout;crystallize&qout; new abilities and thus grow your intelligence.

These two types of intelligence belong together and one bleeds into the other. Things you learn with your fluid intelligence can solidify and transfer into your crystallized intelligence. However, your fluid intelligence will decrease with age. You can somewhat prolong the benefits by constantly training your brain in those areas.

But wait, there's more

While the theories mentioned above are well researched are still being improved, we have compiled even more types of intelligence for you to dig into. You see, multiple intelligences help us find a point of identification. This is what we crave as individuals in order to understand ourselves better and find the best path to take, the best way to work, and the most accurate perception of what we are capable of achieving. It even helps us to discover passions we didn't know we had, job opportunities we hadn't even thought of before. So, in case you haven't found your calling, keep on reading and maybe you'll find your type and definition!

What is Numerical Intelligence?

Numerical intelligence is the ability to construct mathematical equations to solve problems and to calculate and interpret their solutions.

People with high numerical intelligence can easily understand numbers and calculations. They find the simplest possible solutions to problems because they are good with formulas and rules.

This form of intelligence is essential for people in the professions of engineer, scientist, accountant, bookkeeper, financial manager, payroll clerk, and securities trader.

What are Practical and Technical Intelligence?

Practical intelligence is the ability to coordinate mental and physical activities. People with high practical intelligence can easily control their mental agility, coordinate their body movements, and exercise their brains to achieve the desired results. They have strong imaginations and can use them to achieve optimal results in various conditions.

Highly developed practical intelligence is present in people who play musical instruments well or who are otherwise artistically active (e.g., painters and sculptors). Craftsmen, athletes, civil engineers and architects also tend to be strong in this area.

Technical Intelligence is the ability to abstractly imagine and practically realize objects, patterns and tasks as technical models. This kind of intelligence is needed to fully understand technical and scientific processes. Scientist, technician, engineer, designer, locksmith, metalworker, auto mechanic and technical service specialist are just some of the possible career choices for people with high technical intelligence.

Learn more about your intelligence and talents

What are Emotional and Social Intelligence?

a black and white photo of two people of different color holding hands

Like experience, emotional and social intelligence are not components of classic IQ tests.

The term “emotional intelligence “was coined by American psychologist Daniel Goleman in a 1995 best-selling book. In “Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman describes the interrelationship of the parts of the personality that cannot be measured by intelligence tests, including all social, creative, artistic, and artistic abilities.

Emotional intelligence includes emotional self-awareness; the ability to adapt emotions to a situation and to use and apply them productively; and the ability to develop and strengthen empathy and relationship skills. An emotionally intelligent person can control affect and cognition in a way that lets him or her stay in control in stressful situations. it also means to understand right from wrong in conflict situations. You could also refer to that ability as &qout;moral intelligence". Strong emotional intelligence is useful for everyone but is essential for successful psychiatrists, managers, and consultants.

Social intelligence is the ability to co-exist well with others, to perceive the mood and ambitions of fellow human beings, to encounter them in a positive way, and to put oneself in the position of others. Social intelligence makes it possible to cooperate with other people while also perceiving one's own needs and desires. It is essential for safeguarding the relationships between people in a society.

Social intelligence is the ability to co-exist well with others, to perceive the mood and ambitions of fellow human beings, to encounter them in a positive way, and to put oneself in the position of others. Social intelligence makes it possible to cooperate with other people while also perceiving one's own needs and desires. It is essential for safeguarding the relationships between people in a society.

Here you find emotional and social intelligence tests

Have you found your talent, yet?

No worries, if not. There are plenty of tests you can take to find in which ways you are smart!

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