Multiple Intelligences

We used to think that we could give everyone a test to measure their intelligence and then use the score to see which people were smarter.  Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, says that doesn’t work because, there are many different kinds of ”smart.”

He’s been studying how people think and learn for over fifty years. As a result of his research, Gardner believes that there are different types of intelligence, which he calls multiple intelligences. The multiple intelligences are: naturalistic, mathematical-logical, verbal-linguistic, musical-rhythmic, visual spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

The Multiple Intelligences

As you read about each of the multiple intelligences, think about whether that kind of ”smart” describes you.

  • Naturalist: skilled at understanding/relating to the natural world
  • Mathematical – Logical: skilled with logic, reasoning, and/or numbers
  • Verbal – Linguistic: skilled with words and language
  • Musical – Rhythmic: skilled with sound, rhythm, tone, and music
  • Visual – Spatial: skilled with images, spatial judgment, and/or puzzles
  • Bodily – Kinesthetic: skilled at controlling bodily motion such as sports, dance, etc
  • Interpersonal: skilled at communicating with/relating to others
  • Intrapersonal: skilled at self-knowledge, reflection, etc.

Everyone has all eight types of the intelligences listed above at varying levels of aptitude — perhaps even more that are still undiscovered — and all learning experiences do not have to relate to a person’s strongest area of intelligence. Learning is fluid and complex. It is critical to not classify yourself as being specific type of learner nor as having an innate or fixed type of intelligence.


Now that you can see the eight different types of intelligence, you can begin to adjust your learning to match your strengths. But how do you know which intelligence you use?

Actually, no one uses just one type of intelligence; we all use several in our daily lives. Some are stronger than others for each person. Thus it’s helpful to determine your top intelligences and your particular combination of strengths.

Click the link to use the interactive online form to find out your preferred intelligences.