The 8 Types of Intelligences

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The 8 Types of Intelligences

Maura Baker, Student Journalist

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Typically in society, we tend to think that the students with the highest standardized test scores are the smartest kids in school, but this is not always the case. While “book smarts” is a form of intelligence, it is not the only form of intelligence. This idea that there are multiple intelligences is called The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and was first suggested in 1983 by Howard Gardner in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In this theory, there are 8 different intelligences;  Interpersonal, Linguistic, Musical, Logical, Kinesthetic, Intrapersonal, Naturalistic and Visual. Over the years, this has become a very popular theory among educators. But what exactly are these intelligences, what do they mean and what are their characteristics? Let’s take a look at these different intelligences and what they are. 


Interpersonal Intelligence

People who are interpersonally intelligent are usually very observant people. They are very good at understanding other people, whether it be their emotions, strong points, weak points, etc. These people tend to be good leaders since the are good at seeing other people and their talents, plus this makes them very charismatic. They are also good at reading people through gestures and facial expressions, and acting accordingly to other’s feelings and emotions. An early sign of this intelligence is being able to work well with others.

Linguistic Intelligence

These people “have a way with words”. They typically have good comprehension skills, and learn better from reading rather than seeing a visual. People with this intelligence tend to be excellent writers, journalists, poets, and mostly have careers that involve literature. They pick up on definitions of words easily, and are good at figuring out how to use them in context. They are also very good at explaining things. Some early signs of this intelligence are learning to speak early and a love of storytelling. 

Musical Intelligence

People who are musically intelligent are very good with sounds. They can easily recognize rhythms in everyday sounds like water dripping from a faucet, and they are also good at connecting song lyrics with emotions. These people are also good at coming up with their own rhythms, playing instruments, and generating song lyrics. People with this intelligence tend to become great DJ’s, singers, composers, etc. Early signs of this intelligence include expressing interest in musical instruments, as well as wanting to create rhythms by simply stomping a foot or hitting things such silverware together.

Logical Intelligence

When we stay the word ‘smart’, this type of intelligence is usually what we think of. People with logical intelligence tend to get good grades in school, and are typically good with numbers and analyses. They are good at figuring things out, such as puzzles, math problems, or riddles. These people tend to thrive in areas such as engineering, banking and programming. They have good memories for formulas and concepts, and because of this, tend to be good test-takers. Early signs of this intelligence are being able to do quick and accurate mental math, and being a quick learner especially in the mathematical area. 

Kinesthetic Intelligence

People who are kinesthetically intelligent are agile people. They typically love to be moving, so naturally they usually enjoy sports and have very good balance and coordination. Because of the physical intelligence these people possess, the usually are good at a variety of things that include physical activity; for example, they are quick to learn choreographies and play for sports. People with this intelligence make for good athletes, dancers, and even sign language interpreters. An early sign of this intelligence is not being able to sit still as well as taking up interest in sports. 

Intrapersonal Intelligence

This type of intelligence is very much a self awareness. People who have intrapersonal intelligence are very good at knowing themselves, what they like and don’t like, and what they are good at and not so good at. They usually have great self-esteem, and are amazing at setting goals they know they can reach. They tend to be realistic and are great at reflecting on past experience. People with this intelligence, since they are so emotionally aware, usually do well in fields such as psychology. An early sign of this intelligence is being emotionally mature from a very young age.

Naturalistic Intelligence

People with this intelligence are very “Earth smart”. They are very good at interpreting natural occurrences such as the importance of having different types of weather and how ecosystem works. These people easily see the natural beauty in things, and easily understand the environment and its many elements. People with this intelligence can become great botanists, veterinarians and earth scientists. Early signs of this intelligence are loving to be outside as well as having an interest in plants and animals. 

Visual Intelligence

People who are visually intelligent are typically artists in the visual arts scene. They are good at making logos and organizing images on paper. These people are often great painters/drawers, and are great at figuring out ways to make things look neat. Because of this, they’re great are making maps and diagrams as well as creative pieces. They tend to be extremely creative and learn best when they can use visuals. People with this intelligence find that they are good in areas such as landscaping, photographers, sculptors and so much more! Early signs of this intelligence include loving to draw/paint and having a good eye for colors.


In a society with so many different people, it is important that we don’t just define smarts as who got the answer to the math problem correct. Of course, most people are not just one of the 8 intelligences, but a mix, even if it is not immediately obvious. It is also important to know that  someone who can figure out math problems quickly is just as intelligent as someone who is good at interpreting emotions, their intelligences are just in different areas. 

 

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