Howard Gardner’s theories of multiple intelligences share insight into some aspects of intelligence that one may or not possess. While one is good at one of these, it does not mean they are good at all of them.
The eight intelligences described by Gardner are as follows:
- Linguistic intelligence – They enjoy reading and writing, debate and give persuasive speeches. They make good teachers, as they are able to explain things well. They tend to use humor when telling stories
- Interpersonal intelligence – They have the innate ability to understand, appreciate and interact with others. They are known for helping others, and are seen as compassionate and empathetic.
- Intrapersonal intelligence – They are aware of their own emotional states, feelings, motivations and can leverage them well. They are quick to self-analyze themselves and their relationships with others.
- Logical-Mathematical intelligence – Logical problem solving skills, they can analyze situations or problems and solve them, conduct scientific research and solve logical/mathematical operations well.
- Musical intelligence – They have the skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. They have an ability to recognize and create musical pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone.
- Spatial intelligence – They have the ability to generate, retain, retrieve, and transform well-structured visual images and shapes in their mind. It’s the mental feat that architects and engineers perform when they design buildings. Sense of direction is also attributed to spatial intelligence and studies show that men are better at it than women.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence – They have 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.
- Naturalistic intelligence – They have an innate interest in the “natural” world of animals, plants, and the natural work around them. It is the ability to identify and classify patterns in natural environment. Individuals with naturalist intelligence have a sensitivity to and appreciation for nature.
While we may use one of these predominantly at our work, we may have and use different levels of these in our day to day lives.
There is one type of intelligence that Gardner describes as the ninth possible intelligence, being the Existential intelligence – the ability to ponder deep questions about life.
Existential intelligence involves an individual’s ability to use collective values and intuition to understand others and the world around them. People who excel in this intelligence typically are able to see the big picture easily.
Just because we are good at one of these does not naturally mean we are good at all of these.
Think about your friends and colleagues and observe their key traits. How easily are you able to interact with someone who has a different type of intelligence as their key strength?
We might develop an interest over some of these at different points of time in life, and when we do we might be able to understand the perspectives of others much better.