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Did you know there are 9 types of intelligence? These range from musical, interpersonal, spatial, and more. The question is: Which intelligence type do you have?
Intelligence Type Quiz:
Take our free intelligence type quiz to find out!
When you think of intelligence, you might think of IQ tests. You might think of geniuses who can recite entire lines of mathematics, or people accepting Nobel Prizes. Many of us consider intelligence as an innate ability to learn and remember information and ideas. However, in recent decades, our understanding of intelligence has changed.
There are many theories of what intelligence is and how it develops.
One of the pioneers of this field was Harvard psychologist Howard Gardener. His theory suggests that not only is intelligence a learned skill, but it is far more varied than excelling in academia.
Howard Gardner first described his theory in 1983 in his book “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” Here he explained his theory that everyone has different types of intelligence, and may score highly on some and low on others. In this book, he described these eight types of intelligence, and later suggested a ninth. He calls these “Intelligence Types.”
What is an Intelligence Type?
An intelligence type is an indicator of your strengths and areas where you excel. Each intelligence type indicates different skills or “smarts” you are best suited for. There are 9 intelligence types:
- Naturalist (nature smart)
- Musical (sound smart)
- Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
- Existential (life smart)
- Interpersonal (people smart)
- Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
- Linguistic (word smart)
- Intra-personal (self smart)
- Spatial (picture smart)
Here is an overview of each type. See if you can think of one person you know for each type.
Are you particularly observant of the natural world? Do you find being in nature meditative? Is it easy for you to distinguish the subtle differences between a fir and a pine? Do you find working with plants or animals comes second nature to you? This might be because you have naturalist intelligence. People with this intelligence type often have an interest in botany or zoology, and appreciate being outside in nature.
Great careers for naturalist intelligence type:
- Camp Counselor
- Scout Troop Leader
- Landscape Architect
Are you a people person? Do you find it easy to understand and interact with your friends, family, and colleagues?
Whether it’s nonverbal communication, like body language, or using your words carefully to communicate your ideas, people who score highly on interpersonal intelligence are sensitive to the moods of others, and can understand points from multiple different perspectives.
People who score highly on interpersonal intelligence are more likely to be teachers, actors, social workers, and other careers that place value on leadership and interpersonal skills. This is my personal favorite intelligence type because I think it is the most applicable to the most careers.
I had almost no interpersonal intelligence and developed it all from scratch—making it my second most-used type!
Great careers for interpersonal intelligence type:
- Human Resources
- Public Relations
- Social Director
- Social Worker
We have found that interpersonal intelligence can be even more detailed. Take our People Skills Quiz to further test your interpersonal strengths:
People with musical intelligence have sensitive ears. Can you listen to a piece of music and pick out each note? Can you distinguish and understand the difference between pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone? This type of intelligence is often demonstrated by conductors, singers, and musicians. People with this type of intelligence will find themselves regularly recognizing and reflecting on music, and may reproduce or create their own pieces.
Great careers for musical intelligence type:
- Piano Teacher
- Dance Teacher
- Music Therapist
- Choral Director
Can you find yourself getting lost in an interesting pattern? Do you enjoy having things categorized, or connecting items together by their relationship? Are your favorite games all about strategy? You might have logical-mathematical intelligence. This is the ability to calculate numbers, quantify, and hypothesize about numbers. It enables us to excel at abstract and symbolic thought, inductive and deductive thought patterns, and sequential reasoning. Mathematicians and scientists score highly on logical-mathematical intelligence.
Great careers for logical intelligence type:
- Computer Analyst
If you’re good at sport, or using your hands to create things, you might find you score highly on bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to move objects and/or the body with timing and perfection. People who score highly on this type of intelligence are often dancers, surgeons, athletes, or artists.
Great careers for bodily-kinesthetic intelligence type:
- Physical Therapist
- Gym Owner
Are you interested in mazes and jigsaw puzzles? Can you visualize how something will look before you make it? Are you a daydreamer? Do you find blueprints easy to understand? You might score highly on spatial intelligence. This means you are able to think in three dimensions.
People with this type of intelligence are good at designing, have exceptionally active imaginations, and are good with spatial reasoning.
They often go into careers as pilots, painters, architects, or sculptors. 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.
Great careers for spatial intelligence type:
- Geometry Teacher
- Urban Planner
- Graphic Artist
- Interior Decorator
Can you speak a second language? Maybe even a third? Do you excel in writing poetry, or crafting speeches? Do you enjoy telling stories, or doing crossword puzzles? People with linguistic intelligence can use language (or, even, multiple languages) to communicate complex meaning. Linguistic intelligence is the most universal type of intelligence. People with high linguistic intelligence are usually poets, journalists, public speakers, and novelists.
Great careers for linguistic intelligence type:
- Public Speaker
- Radio announcer
- TV host
- Speech Pathologist
Do you find yourself reflecting on your own personality? Do you plan your life carefully to achieve your personal goals? Are you someone who understands your own thoughts and emotions? You might score highly on intra-personal intelligence. This type of intelligence means you are able to not only understand yourself, but the human condition as a whole. People who score highly on intra-personal tend to be spiritual leaders, therapists, or philosophers.
Great careers for intra-personal intelligence type:
- Social Worker
People with this intelligence type love learning about themselves! We have another quiz and tutorial you will love. Research has found that we each have 5 basic personality types. Learn about yours:
Do you ever wonder about the meaning of life? Do you read books about our evolution and how humans developed to be the species they are today? Are you awake late at night wondering what else exists outside of our known universe?
Existential intelligence is often referred to as ‘life smarts’.
People with this type of intelligence tend to be sensitive and have the ability to ask deep questions about human existence and the meaning behind our existence.
Great careers for existential intelligence type:
- Inspirational Speaker
Here is the most important thing to know about your intelligence type: Learn to leverage it.
You will be far more successful if you work with your natural inclinations.
Learn about your strengths and find ways to utilize them!