9 Types of Intelligence

Were you a slow learner at school? Or were you amongst the ones who raised their hands at every question that a teacher asks? No matter what kind of a person you are, but let me congratulate you that you are Intelligent! Well, atleast in some way.

We Indians generally relate academics to intelligence and this certainly is one of the “non-intelligent”  things that we do. Intelligence really doesn’t depend on what grades you get, but rather reflects your personality. If you are not good at math or language, you might still be gifted at other things and that too is “Intelligence”!

In 1983 an American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener described 9 types of intelligence:

  1. Naturalist (nature smart)
  2. Musical (sound smart)
  3. Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
  4. Existential (life smart)
  5. Interpersonal (people smart)
  6. Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
  7. Linguistic (word smart)
  8. Intra-personal (self smart)
  9. Spatial (picture smart)

1. Naturalist Intelligence:

Have you ever wondered why certain people are able to connect with animals just like that? Well, those people are great examples of “nature smart” individuals. Naturalistic intelligence refers to a human being’s sensitivity to the natural world. Naturalist intelligence 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).

2. Musical Intelligence:

While some people gravitate towards nature, there are others who tend to be drawn to the musical world. These “musical smart” people are usually more sensitive to sounds that most individuals aren’t aware of. 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. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.

3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:

The name itself describes what kind of intelligence is this. The 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.\

4. Existential Intelligence:

Even as other people go about their daily lives without devoting much thought to their existence, people with existential intelligence tend to mull over “deep” thoughts. It is the type of intelligence which deals with Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why we die, and how did we get here.

5. Interpersonal Intelligence:

You might have observed that there are certain people who have the seemingly unique ability to get along superbly with others. These “people smart” individuals, with the use of their interpersonal intelligence, interact with others in such a way that they are able to understand and communicate well. . 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.

6. 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.

7. Linguistic Intelligence:

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.

8. Intra-personal Intelligence:

People who have the remarkable ability to understand themselves, their thoughts, and their emotions and are capable of using this knowledge to plan their lives possess intra-personal intelligence. While intra-personal intelligence does involve self-appreciation, it also comprises a wider understanding of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.

9. Spatial Intelligence:

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.


Well, I just discovered how “Intelligent” I am. Hope you did too! Tell us if you have multiple intelligence or if you know more to these.





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