Have you ever been belittled for your ‘lack of intelligence’ or felt inferior face to face with others who speak of Socrates as it is was Spongebob? I myself have often questioned in the past whether I was truly intelligent. I know I’m smart, but sometimes it seems hard to explain how in comparison to those around me.
If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone. For too long we have tried to cage personalities into a single definition of intelligence. Howard Gardner, however, is trying to change that. In his book Frames of Mind (initially published in 1983 but recently re-adapted in 2011), Gardner expounds on what intelligence means and divides it into nine different types of intelligence, each equally important and valuable to our society.
Which are you?
People with naturalist intelligence love memorizing plant names and feeling soil run through their hands while gardening. At times they may dream of nothing more than packing up their lives and living on top of a mountain, surrounded by trees and rivers. Their souls ache for the creation around them, and they’re quick to protect it.
Where naturalist intelligence shines: Survival skills; Environmental education and activisim; animal and nature care
This is the type of person that acts like their whole life is a musical — with a constant tune in their head and a hum in their mouth. Naturally gifted with rhythm and perfect pitch, people envy their aptitude for instruments and singing. Those with musical intelligence were probably a choir nerd or a band geek in high school and have no shame in admitting that to everyone around them.
Where musical intelligence shines: Learning multiple instruments; singing; DJ-ing; composing
Logical-mathematical people see the world in numbers and patterns. Their view of the world errs on the side of the abstract and logical, detecting hidden patterns and meanings. They typically thrive in math classes, viewing differential equations as a way to relax.
Where logical-mathematical intelligence shines: puzzles, patterns, math-based industries, STEM
A philosopher at heart, those with existential intelligence gravitate toward the big questions on life and the pursuit of happiness. They are sensitive to the inner-workings of the world and always wondering what is beyond the starry sky.
Where existential intelligence shines: philosophy, counseling, religious leaders
Those with interpersonal intelligence are the most gregarious and charismatic people you’ll ever meet. However, more than just being an extrovert, people with interpersonal intelligence understand nonverbal communication, feeling the emotions of others and picking up on bodily cues.
Where interpersonal intelligence shines: communication; teaching; politics; people-oriented careers
Quite possibly the most under-appreciated form of intelligence, those with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence have an innate sense of timing and body-awareness. They know how to get their body to do exactly what they want, whether that be catching a ball or swinging a bat at the exact moment needed.
Where bodily-kinesthetic intelligence shines: sports; precise work such as woodworking and crafts; dance
Individuals with linguistic intelligence have a natural propensity for rich vocabulary and speedy language acquisition. They excel at writing and speaking and love learning new words. Many famous people belong to this group, due to their ability to communicate their beliefs and values with extraordinary agility and precision.
Where linguistic intelligence shines: public speaking; writing; poetry; translation; language learning
Likely hunched over their computers taking personality test after personality test, individuals with interpersonal intelligence crave discovering who they are as a person. They like to visualize how they fit into the world around them and are typically very successful due to their heightened self-awareness.
Where intrapersonal intelligence shines: counselor; psychologist; philosopher; motivational speaker/author
Directions are a piece of cake for those with spatial intelligence. No maze or puzzle is too difficult due to their ability to see the world in 3D and their inner compass.
Where spatial intelligence shines: geography; navigation skills; architects; conductors
If you are interested in reading Gardner’s responses about his theory, click here.
Which one are you? Take this test and comment in the comment section below!