Harvard Psychologist Classifies 8 Types of Human Intelligence—Which One Is Your Smarts?

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The theory of multiple intelligences helps you discover your true self and natural talents. In his 1983 book Frames of Mind, Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner explains that there are eight types of human intelligence, each showing how we best process information. Which one do you think fits you?

Spatial Intelligence


Spatial intelligence involves the ability to think abstractly and visualize in multiple dimensions. If you’re adept at solving puzzles or understanding charts, maps, and graphs, you might excel in this area. 

Visualizing the Future


People with high spatial intelligence can easily visualize images and patterns in their minds, making them naturally skilled in fields like architecture, graphic design, photography, interior design, and aviation. 

For instance, someone who enjoys chess might excel at predicting several moves ahead due to their spatial reasoning skills. 

Careers That Require Space Sense


Those with this intelligence often thrive in careers that require a keen sense of space and design, such as pilots, architects, fashion designers, surgeons, artists, and engineers.

Logical-mathematical Intelligence


Logical-mathematical intelligence involves the ability to analyze problems logically, perform mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. 

People with this intelligence (like Albert Einstein) excel at developing equations, solving abstract problems, and conducting scientific experiments.

Enjoying Math Puzzles


If you’re someone who enjoys tackling math puzzles and riddles (which sounds weird to many), you likely possess strong logical-mathematical intelligence. 

Logical Reasoning Skills

man thinking
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This ability enables you to break down complex information and find solutions through numerical and logical reasoning. For example, a person with high logical-mathematical intelligence might thrive as a computer programmer, writing code to solve intricate problems, or as a mathematician, developing new theories and models.

Thriving in Analytical Careers

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People with this type of intelligence are adept at logical reasoning, scientific experimentation, and solving complex computations. They often enjoy tasks that involve critical thinking and problem-solving. 

This intelligence is highly valued in careers such as economist, accountant, scientist, engineer, and many others that require strong analytical skills.

Math Class Was Your Favorite

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Logical-mathematical intelligence is highly valued in most educational systems. If you were that kid who easily solved all the math problems and made everyone envious, you’ve got this kind of smarts!

Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence


Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to use your body to demonstrate physical and athletic prowess. If you excel in this area, you might be an athlete effortlessly running down a field or a dancer flawlessly performing a complicated routine. 

Solving Problems With Action


People with this intelligence have a natural skill for using parts of their body (like their hands) or their whole body to accomplish tasks. This ability can lead to creating products or solving problems through movement and action.

Gut Instinct for Movement


Naturally high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence means your body often has a gut instinct for how to move effectively. For example, an orthopedic surgeon needs precise bodily control to perform surgery, just as a ballet dancer or athlete relies on this intelligence for their performances. 

Hand-Eye Coordination Skills


Those with this type of intelligence exhibit excellent hand-eye coordination and balance. They often excel in activities like dance and sports and remember things by doing them rather than hearing or seeing.

Natural Physical Skills


This intelligence often combines with other strengths and personality traits to shape your career path. Whether becoming a carpenter, a basketball player, or another profession, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence plays a significant role. 

Excelling in Physical Careers


If you’re naturally skilled in coordination, both physical and hand-eye, and have strong motor skills and muscle memory, you might excel in careers like dancing, physical therapy, athletics, mechanics, building, or acting.

Musical Intelligence


Musical intelligence involves a sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, melody, tone, and timbre. Those high in musical intelligence can often sing or play instruments with ease. 

Exceptional Ability to Play Instruments


Musical intelligence also means having a strong appreciation for music and the ability to learn and play several instruments. 

A perfect example of this type of intelligence is famous musicians like Beethoven, Aretha Franklin, and Jimi Hendrix, who had an exceptional sense of rhythm and melody.

Picking Up Musical Changes


People with musical intelligence might not only be musicians but also conductors, songwriters, or even audio technicians and sound engineers. For instance, someone with this intelligence might be able to pick up on subtle changes in music that others might miss. 

Practice Makes Perfect


Have musical ambitions but lack musical intelligence? Don’t give up just yet…

This intelligence can be strengthened with practice and hard work, even if one doesn’t have a high natural ability. For example, someone who took violin lessons for years without becoming a world-famous musician might still improve through dedication and practice!

Career Paths in Music


This intelligence combines with other skills to shape potential career paths such as singer, music teacher, musical conductor, DJ, songwriter, and composer.

Linguistic Intelligence

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Linguistic intelligence, sometimes called “language intelligence,” involves a sensitivity to the meaning, order, and sound of words. Those high in this intelligence excel at writing stories, memorizing information, and reading. 

If you’re good with words, you might thrive in writing, giving speeches, or reading (and enjoy the many benefits that come with it!)

Language-Based Careers


People with linguistic intelligence can analyze information and create products using language. For instance, someone might become a novelist or a TV news anchor—two very different careers that both require a strong command of language. 

A novelist might be more introverted and reflective, while a TV news anchor is often dynamic and charismatic, yet both use their linguistic skills to excel.

Reading and Speaking Skills


This intelligence includes strengths like reading and analyzing written information, communicating effectively through speech or writing, and handling tasks involving language. Are you this exceptionally skilled person?

Jobs for Linguistic Minds


Careers for those with high linguistic intelligence might include poet, novelist, public speaker, journalist, TV anchor, editor, lawyer, or English professor. 

Naturalistic Intelligence


Naturalistic intelligence involves the ability to understand and distinguish the nuances in nature, such as differentiating between various plants, animals, and natural elements. 

Charles Darwin is a notable individual that exemplifies this intelligence. 

Recognizing Nature’s Patterns


If you have naturalistic intelligence, you can easily recognize and categorize things found in the natural world, like identifying different types of plants or understanding weather patterns.

Excelling in Natural Fields


People with high naturalistic intelligence are often drawn to fields that involve plants, animals, or environmental studies. For example, they might be able to identify  poisonous wild berries from edible ones.

This intelligence often leads to a deep interest in subjects like botany, biology, and zoology, and activities such as camping and gardening.

Naturalistic Career Paths


Imagine being a biologist who discovers a new species or a conservationist working to protect endangered animals. If you connect with naturalistic intelligence, careers like geologist, farmer, botanist, biologist, conservationist, florist, gardener, zoologist, veterinarian, or meteorologist might be a great fit for you..

Interpersonal Intelligence


Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to interact effectively with other people, showing sensitivity to their moods, feelings, and motivations. 

If you’re the go-to friend for advice and can instinctively read people’s emotions, you likely have high interpersonal intelligence.

Reading Emotions Easily


This type of intelligence involves recognizing and understanding others’ moods, desires, and motivations. People with this skill can easily assess emotions, communicate well (both verbally and non-verbally), and strive to resolve conflicts, fostering positive relationships.

Careers in Emotional Fields

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Imagine being a psychologist who can effortlessly empathize with clients, or a team manager who intuitively understands the dynamics of their team. 

This intelligence also shines in roles such as negotiator, politician, publicist, and salesperson, where understanding people is critical. 

Intrapersonal Intelligence


Intrapersonal intelligence means being sensitive to your own feelings, goals, and anxieties and having the capacity to plan and act based on your traits. 

This intelligence isn’t limited to specific careers but is valuable for everyone, especially in our complex society where personal decision-making is essential.

Do you Understand Yourself?


If you’re adept at understanding yourself and embracing who you are, you possess high intrapersonal intelligence. This means you can recognize your own moods, desires, motivations, and intentions. 

People with this intelligence have a deep perception of their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. They are self-aware and can effectively regulate their emotions, leading to a strong sense of self.

Roles for the Self-Aware


Intrapersonal intelligence is particularly beneficial for careers that require self-direction. 

Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and writers often rely on this intelligence to stay motivated, understand their best working conditions, and receive feedback effectively. This self-awareness is also useful in professions like therapist, counselor, psychologist, philosopher, and theorist.

Self-Motivated Jobs


An entrepreneur might excel by understanding what drives them to succeed and what hinders their progress. Similarly, a philosopher might use this intelligence to explore deep questions about human existence. 

Personal and Professional Insight


Intrapersonal intelligence helps individuals “know thyself,” as the ancient Greeks advised, enabling them to handle their personal and professional lives with insight and clarity.

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.