Intelligence is often defined by performance in an examination or grades at school, but at Nord Anglia Education we understand it goes beyond that. Although having useful knowledge and skills does contribute to a person’s intelligence, psychologist Howard Gardner Theory of Multiple Intelligence suggests that there’s more to being intelligent than simply being good at maths and English or learning a second language.
At our schools, we deliver a curriculum where children can develop these nine types of intelligence and learn their strengths and weaknesses, helping them understand their place in the world and decide which career they would like to pursue.
This article will discuss the nine types of intelligence listed in Gardner’s research in more detail, and list the characteristics of each to help people understand which of the nine types of intelligence they possess.
Perhaps the most obvious of the nine kinds of intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence refers to someone’s ability to solve mathematical problems, spot trends and patterns, and understand relationships. If someone possesses logical-mathematical intelligence it means that order and sequencing feature greatly in their thinking process and they can think conceptually and abstractly.
You have high logical-mathematical intelligence if:
Great careers for people with logical-mathematical intelligence include mathematician, economist, auditor, accountant, scientist, tactician, computer analyst and technician.
Linguistic intelligence gauges someone’s ability to use words effectively. This doesn’t necessarily mean learning another language, someone who exclusively uses one language proficiently can still have linguistic intelligence. Being able to use the right words and express what you mean is a unique skill that can be utilised in several different scenarios.
You have high linguistic intelligence if:
Great careers for people with linguistic intelligence include public speaker, librarian, politician, radio announcer, TV host, YouTuber, journalist, lawyer, curator, speech pathologist, writer or sales.
Interpersonal intelligence or emotional intelligence refers to the link between intelligence and emotions. Someone with interpersonal intelligence is good at sensing other people’s emotions and reading their motives, this can be linked to both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
You have high interpersonal intelligence if:
Great careers for people with interpersonal intelligence include human resources, counsellor, management, psychologist, public relations, social director, teacher or social worker.
Intrapersonal intelligence refers to self-awareness and people’s ability to understand themselves. Do you understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it? Intrapersonal intelligence also involves appreciating and respecting the human condition, in general, treating others the way you would like to be treated yourself.
You have high intrapersonal intelligence if:
Great careers for people with intrapersonal intelligence include psychologist, writer, therapist, counsellor, social worker, theologian, entrepreneur or poet.
Musical intelligence is the most self-explanatory of the nine types of intelligence, it refers to someone’s ability to sense rhythm and sound and use this to create music.
You have a high level of musical intelligence if:
Great careers for people with musical intelligence include conductor, musician, piano teacher, composer, dance teacher, music therapist or choral director.
Visual-spatial intelligence refers to people’s ability to view or visualise the world in its three dimensions. When discussing visualising the world in 3D, it involves the following capabilities:
Mental imagery – being able to draw up an image or picture without an external stimulus, drawing from memories or previous experience. In other words, the detail of someone’s imagination.
Spatial reasoning – being able to think about objects in 3D and draw generalisations despite having limited information. Mention a pyramid, and people with visual-spatial intelligence will be able to visualise how that pyramid will look from the front or the top.
Image manipulation – being able to visualise changes to an image before they have been implemented. For example, an artist visualising how their picture will look before they have drawn it.
Artistic skills – being able to create artwork, this also includes graphic skills.
Visual-spatial intelligence and creativity work hand-in-hand, drawing on an active imagination to produce impressive visual work.
You have high visual-spatial intelligence if:
Great careers for people with visual-spatial intelligence include architect, geometry teacher, engineer, surveyor, urban planner, graphic artist, interior decorator, photographer, pilot or cartographer.
Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence refers to mind and body co-ordination and is very important in athletes. Athletic ability isn’t often referred to as intelligence, but kinaesthetic intelligence is measured on someone’s ability to use their physicality to manipulate objects and other elements around them.
You have high bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence if:
Great careers for people with bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence include physical therapist, dancer, athlete, coach, fitness instructor, gym owner, actor, mechanic or carpenter.
Naturalist intelligence refers to the ability to read and understand nature. Having sensitivity to the non-living elements of all living things is considered “nature smart”.
You have high naturalist intelligence if:
Great careers for people with naturalist intelligence include botanist, oceanographer, camp counsellor, scout troop leader, gardener, astronomer, meteorologist, geologist or landscape architect.
Existential intelligence refers to deep sensitivity and people’s ability to handle deep questions such as the meaning of existence, it’s one of the most complex of the nine types of intelligence listed in Gardner’s research. People with existential intelligence are not only comfortable talking about these serious questions but also strive to find the answer.
You have high existential intelligence if:
Great careers for people with existential intelligence include inspirational speaker, writer, clergy, author, philosopher, economist or blogger.
This article should help you better understand the nine types of intelligence and where your own strengths and weaknesses lie.
If you’d like to learn more about how we consider these at Nord Anglia Education, you can explore our school curricula and unique learning approach by following the link below.