The Top 8 Intelligences

According to the respected Multiple Intelligences Theory pioneered by Harvard professor Howard Gardner, there are a variety of intrinsic approaches and skills we use to perceive, understand, and shape our world - in other words, several different kinds of intelligence. We each possess different intelligences, or different combinations of them, that affect how we learn.


1. Linguistic Intelligence -- the gift of words.

Linguistically intelligent people best understand the world through the spoken and written word.

They enjoy reading and writing, use expressive language, get pleasure from puns riddles and word games, are interested in foreign languages, memorize easily and take notes in class.


They entertain, teach, argue and persuade effectively through the spoken word. They are trivia masters, voracious readers, clear writers and masters of comprehension of all things word-oriented.

Who are they? Journalists, poets, lawyers, storytellers... Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan...

2. Visual/Spatial Intelligence -- the gift of pictures

Visually intelligent people best understand the world through visualization and spatial orientation.

They enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together and playing with three-dimensional puzzles. They recall memories through visual images, and understand maps and blueprints easily.


They identify, modify and transform different aspects of the visual-spatial world. They have an extreme sensitivity to visual details and see images vividly, draw or sketch their ideas graphically, and can orient themselves easily in a three-dimensional world.

Who are they? Architects, photographers, artists, pilots, mechanical engineers... Ansel Adams, Amelia Earhart, Frieda Kahlo...

3. Musical -- The gift of music

Musically intelligent people best understand the world through rhythm and melody.


They notice patterns quickly, easily move to a beat, enjoy different types of music. They hum and mimic music, sing or play an instrument, have difficulty concentrating when surrounded by music, and they enjoy the rhythm of poetry.


They perceive, appreciate and create rhythms and melodies. They have a good ear, can sing in tune, keep time to music, and can easily differentiate different musical selections.

Who are they? Composers, lyricists, pianists, rock stars... Mozart, Elton John, Billie Holiday...

4. Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence -- the gift of body

Physically intelligent people best understand the world through physicality.


They enjoy physical movement and tactile experiences. They believe animals and the physical environment are important. They enjoy studying biology and ecological issues. They write letters and numbers well, and like to choreograph and design new games.


They can easily control their body movements and skillfully handle objects. They are sewers, chefs, carpenters, and model-builders. They like to jog, camp, swim, ski, dance, and so on. They're hands-on people who have good touch sensitivity, need to keep moving, and get "gut reactions" to things.

Who are they? Athletes, craftspeople, mechanics, surgeons... Michael Jordan, Bob Vila, Michele Kwan...

5. Logical/Mathematical -- the gift of logic and numbers

Mathematically and Logically intelligent people best understand the world through cause and effect.


They like things to be orderly and neat and can get frustrated with unorganized people. They follow step-by-step instructions, and collect and use information to solve problems. They can often perform calculations quickly in their heads. They enjoy games and puzzles involving reasoning.


They have a keen ability to reason, order, think in terms of cause-and-effect, create hypotheses, look for regularities or patterns, and enjoy a general rational outlook on life.

Who are they? Scientists, accountants, computer programmers... Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Isaac Newton...

6. Interpersonal Intelligence -- the gift of people

Socially intelligent people best understand the world through the eyes of others.


They learn by and enjoy interacting with others. They compromise, negotiate, and empathize with others. They exhibit leadership skills and participate in politics. They are involved in extracurricular activities and like being a "team player."


They are perceptive and responsive to the moods, dispositions, intentions and needs of others. They can "get under your skin" to view the world from your eyes. Who are they?

Teachers, social directors, administrators, highly effective leaders... Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Jaime Escalante...

7. Intrapersonal -- the gift of self

Intrapersonally intelligent people best understand the world from their unique point of view.


They are keenly aware of their own beliefs, feelings and motivations. They enjoy working on their own, and are generally successful at self-motivating. They like to know why they are doing something. They can accurately assess their own skills and weaknesses and they take challenges.


They can easily access their own feelings and can differentiate between many different kinds of inner emotional states. They are self-understanding, introspective, contemplative, independent, self-driven, and self-disciplined.

Who are they? Counselors, theologians, entrepreneurs... Sigmund Freud, Jesse Jackson, Bill Gates...

8. Naturalist Intelligence -- the gift of nature

Environmentally intelligent people best understand the world through their own environment.


They enjoy working and being outdoors. They like to classify items into hierarchies. They believe that nature, ecological issues and animals are important.


They can easily understand and remember different species in their environment. They often have a "green thumb." If raised in an urban environment, they may apply their skill in remembering and classifying objects in their "natural" surroundings such as cars, sports shoes or album covers. Who are they? Naturalists, farmers, environmentalists... Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, John Muir...

This piece was originally submitted by Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical
Psychology, Momentum Coaching, who can be visited on the Susan Dunn wants you to know:
I'm a coach; your success is my business. Email me for free ezine. The original source is:, Howard Gardner, Thomas Armstrong.

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