Posted by:

Types Of Intelligence

Dr. Howard Gardner’s Types of Intelligence


For a long time, until fairly recently, the field of psychology used IQ tests solely to explain intelligence. However, some viewed those tests as inadequate because they only tested linguistic, logical, and spatial abilities to place people on a scale to find their ability levels, according to the DSM V. IQ can change over time, and natural expertise in certain areas was not tested for, which left an incomplete picture of a person’s true intelligence level. Therefore, Dr. Howard Gardner developed nine categories of intelligence based on empirical evidence for these categories from his experience as a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


People with naturalistic intelligence are in tune with the natural world around them. They are keen observers of how nature works and the subtle changes that take place in the natural world. Therefore, they are often good at noticing details and surviving in hostile environments with their natural common sense. People like farmers, zoologists, and botanists have high degrees of naturalistic intelligence. If you are lost in the woods, you would be lucky to have one with you!


People with musical intelligence are good at distinguishing tones, rhythms, and writing music. Many of them are also good at poetry and mathematics because those involve similar thought processes. This group includes musical prodigies, such as Mozart, who could remember long musical pieces or write them down after only hearing them once.


These people are very good at conceptualizing complex problems using letters and numbers to determine unknown variables. They are very good at deductive and inductive reasoning to determine solutions based on many factors. They are comfortable working with abstract theories and trying to prove or disprove them through mathematical analysis. People in this category include engineers, scientists, and physicists, like Stephen Hawking or the tv character, Dr. Sheldon Cooper.


Those in the existential category have high abilities with philosophical concepts. Like the logical-mathematical category, they use deductive and inductive reasoning, but they use it to conceptualize complex issues with regard to humanity. However, they are comfortable with ambiguity because they may never arrive at a definite answer to any of their questions and hypotheses. Famous people in this group would include Socrates, Plato, and Michel Foucault among many many others.


These are the great communicators of the world. They can get along with many people and notice subtle changes in others’ personalities and moods. They are socially oriented, empathetic, and sympathetic which helps them communicate thoroughly with others. Many famous humanitarians can be found in this group, such as Mother Teresa and the current Dalai Lama.


The people in this category have good motor skills and agile body movements because they are so aware of what their bodies are capable of doing. They are good in dance and sports because of that. They are not ones to sit around and think about something because they want to get up and do it to experiment with their physical prowess. This is another large group comprising people, such as Leonidas of Rhodes and Rudolf Nureyev.

Gillian Lynne was suspected of having  what we now know as ADHD because she couldn’t`t concentrate or keep still. However, luckily one of her more astute councillors said :- ” there is nothing wrong with her, she just needs to join a dance school ” which she did with amazing success, and the rest is history ………….. As teachers we must put the right kids in the right places, to expose their intelligence !!


People in this group are great a distinguishing subtle differences in meaning through the written and spoken word. They love reading, writing, storytelling, and possess a wide breadth of vocabulary they use easily. That also makes it easy for them to learn other languages and communicate with a wide range of people. Many of these people are teachers, international journalists, and diplomats, such as Jimmy Carter and Angela Merkel.


People with this type of intelligence know themselves very well and can use that knowledge to motivate themselves to achieve their goals. They are, therefore, able to read others well and to help them persevere, so they often make good psychologists, therapists, or motivational speakers, such as Carl Jung or Dr. Phillip McGraw.


These people have great abilities in visualizing complex patterns in physical forms from drawings, maps, and good graphic skills. They are often good at geometry and do not easily get lost when confronted with a new situation in a new place. They are often good with sailing by the stars, piloting airplanes, and in architectural design, such as Polynesian sailors, I.M. Pei, and ancient Mayan astronomers.

Of course, there could be many more types of intelligence that have yet to be hypothesized and recognized, such as pedagogical intelligence. Therefore, it is important to keep an open mind to the possibilities that each person can achieve based on their innate strengths and weaknesses due to intelligence and to nurture those attributes in life and education.


By Matthew Coleman

Head Teacher – Queens Education & Tokyo Real


( all references available upon request )




One Response to Types Of Intelligence

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *