8 types of intelligence Howard Gardner’s Types of Intelligence


Intelligence is the ability of the human being (and to a lesser extent of some higher animals) to construct useful information to solve a problem, based on the conditions of the environment and what has been learned previously. In fewer words: intelligence is the ability to solve a problem using creativity, memory, and deductive ability. In this article we will describe the 8 types of intelligence.

Intelligence must be distinguished from encyclopedic knowledge and even from the general culture, as well as from a mental speed of calculation or verbal skill, although all of this is usually linked in some way to certain types of intelligence. An intelligent person is not necessarily cultured or fast but has an intrinsic ability to understand situations and deduce or imagine solutions.

Traditionally, humans are distinguished from the rest of the higher animals in that they reach (although sometimes it may not seem like it) the highest known degrees of intelligence, which has been key in their evolutionary process and has allowed them to understand reality at deep levels. , invent a complex series of expressive tools and media, and shape the environment at will.

Etymology of intelligence

The word “intelligence” comes from two Latin wordsinter (“between”) and leggere (read, choose), so in its primary meaning it implied the ability to “read between the lines”, that is, to interpret, deduce, beyond the obvious.

Hence, during the Middle Ages, it became intelligentsia, to refer to understanding and eventually ” intelligentsia ” to name the social class made up of intellectuals and cultural personalities.

Intelligence definitions

There is no single definition for intelligence but it will depend on the specific approach and the factors that are taken into account: attempts to establish what exactly intelligence is have always generated debate.

Thus, for example, Ch. Spearman considered it a unitary capacity to solve problems and create new content, while for LG Humphreys it was a set of abilities that allow the living being to better adapt to its environment. Intelligence Types and Functions

For Alfred Bienet, intelligence was common sense or a practical sense, that is, the adaptive capacity to solve a problem, and for Reuven Feuerstein the human capacity to modify the structure of its cognitive functioning to adapt to changes in a situation throughout life.

The types of intelligence proposed by the American psychologist and researcher Howard Gardner are a model for differentiating and classifying human intelligence into specific modalities of intelligence, instead of being guided by a single general ability.

In his 1983 book, Frames of Mind , Gardner stated that intelligence is not a uniform group of particular characteristics, but rather an association of independent elements that are related to each other. And that all people have these types of intelligence, having a higher degree in one or more of these types.

In his research at Harvard University, where he was a professor, he warned that a single factor was not enough to know whether someone is intelligent or not.

For example, that a student got good grades was not decisive to know his intelligence, because in the academic field he could be brilliant, but in his social relationships he could have serious problems communicating with others.

These and other cases made him and his collaborators think that intelligence could be more of a set of independent abilities and that as a unit it does not exist.

Howard Gardner’s Types of Intelligence

For Gardner, there are 8 skills that manifest multiple intelligence, and they are more of a map to know how a person can function in certain situations, depending on their personal circumstances (education, environment, decisions, etc.).

These abilities are present in all people, what changes is the level of development of each one, according to biological, personal, cultural and historical factors.

Below are 8 types of intelligence

1-Musical intelligence

Musical intelligence is that ability to perceive, distinguish, transform and create musical forms. People with high musical intelligence easily recognize melodies or tones, different frequencies and timbres of voices or musical instruments.

Those who present this intelligence are, of course, musicians, composers, conductors, singers, dancers.


  • Interest in a musical instrument.
  • Hobby for music.
  • Sensitivity to the rhythm, pitch, or melody of songs.
  • Easy to dance and follow the rhythm.
  • Easy to remember songs and melodies.

Activities to work on

  • Take music classes.
  • Join a choir.
  • Listen to music of all kinds as a habit.
  • Rhythmic games with claps.
  • Attend musical concerts.

2-visuospatial intelligence

It is the intelligence that allows us to see and recognize the world and its objects from different perspectives. Gardner defined it as the ability to think in three dimensions, and with which images can be perceived, recreated and modified.

We can observe this intelligence in painters, sculptors, photographers, graphic designers, architects. But also in surgeons, engineers, sailors.


  • Interest in painting or photographing the environment.
  • Interest in making plans or diagrams.
  • Build things.
  • Draw in notebooks and on any surface.

Activities to work on

  • Visit museums and exhibitions.
  • Assemble puzzles.
  • Create collages and compositions.
  • Play the mazes.
  • Play chess.
  • Make mental maps.

3-linguistic verbal intelligence

People with a high linguistic intelligence demonstrate a great facility to handle language and communicate through wordsWriting and gestures are an important part of communication, and they tend to express themselves very well with them.

They like to read, write, tell stories and memorize information, and they have a great ability to learn languages. These people are writers, poets, journalists, politicians, actors, lawyers.


  • Interest in books and reading.
  • Hobby for writing stories.
  • I like word games.
  • It has good spelling.
  • Good lexical level.
  • Taste for theatrical performances.

Activities to work on

  • Learn a language.
  • Start keeping a journal.
  • Write stories about specific topics.
  • Read everything, and prepare summaries of the readings.
  • Play Scrabble, Boggle and other word games.
  • Explain a topic.
  • Tell a movie.

4-Logical-mathematical intelligence

For a long time, this was the intelligence considered “the” intelligence. It is the ability for logical reasoning and solving mathematical problems. One of the traits that indicates how much logical-mathematical intelligence one has is the speed with which these problems are solved.

Scientists, engineers, mathematicians, economists, accountants, academics or researchers present this intelligence. IQ tests are the tools to measure it.


  • Passion for numbers.
  • Interest in the inner workings of machines and devices.
  • Speed ​​in calculations.
  • Taste for the exact sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry.
  • Ease to establish connections between things and reason about them.
  • Easy to draw diagrams.

Activities to work on

  • Solve logical problems.
  • Play games with mental calculations.
  • Participate in guided debates and dialogues and propose arguments and counter-arguments.
  • Play chess.
  • Play at breaking codes.
  • Play strategy games.

5-bodily kinesthetic intelligence

It is that ability needed to handle tools and to effectively control body movements. This includes, for example, the ability to express feelings with the body, that is, bodily expressiveness.

Those who present this type of intelligence can be goldsmiths, plastic artists, sculptors, dancers, actors, athletes, cabinetmakers and carpenters, craftsmen, engineers, architects.


  • Hobby for sports.
  • Ability in manual tasks.
  • Obtaining information through touch.
  • I like to model with clay.
  • Taste for dance and theater.
  • Build things with your hands.
  • Good imitation of other people’s gestures and manners.

Activities to work on

  • Take art classes.
  • Make figures with plasticine or clay.
  • play mime
  • Play body mirror.
  • Swimming, biking, running, etc.
  • Dance.
  • Rollerblading.
  • Cut out figures and do crafts.

6-Interpersonal intelligence

They have interpersonal intelligence who have sensitivity towards the moods of others, to the feelings, motivations and temperaments of others, and the ability to cooperate in group work. Interpersonal intelligence, in its social aspect, is related to emotional intelligence.

This allows them to establish effective communication and empathize with others, easily detecting problems that affect others. People with this intelligence are educators, psychologists, teachers, lawyers, politicians, salespeople, managers, negotiators, diplomats, religious, counselors or social workers.


  • Have a lot of friends.
  • Tendency to organize groups.
  • leadership behaviors.
  • Help your friends.
  • I like to belong to clubs or associations.
  • Passion for teaching.

Activities to work on

  • Study the gestures of others.
  • Participate in games where you have to interpret attitudes of other participants.
  • Conflict simulations and participate as a negotiator.
  • Give names to emotions.
  • Stage situations and play the role of the interlocutor.
  • Organize teamwork.

7-Intrapersonal intelligence

It has to do with introspective and self-reflective abilities that allow us to know ourselves to control and regulate emotions. Those who have this intelligence are capable of distancing themselves from a conflict to detract from the drama and view the situation objectively.

This allows you to identify and recognize your own thoughts in any situation, but also your emotions and the way you act and react. With this intelligence it is possible to delve into the psyche to know oneself.

They have religious leaders, philosophers, psychotherapists, psychologists, couchers.


  • Control and reflection on emotions.
  • Ability to recognize own mistakes.
  • Willingness to change attitudes.
  • Good performance when studying on your own.
  • Tendency to work individually.
  • High self-esteem.
  • Resilience.

Activities to work on

  • Do meditations.
  • Accept risks (those activities in front of which you feel fear, such as speaking in public).
  • Talk about the emotions you feel.
  • Draw with the opposite hand and attend to the feelings that are emerging.
  • Games like “how would you do?”.

8-naturalistic intelligence

It is the one that allows us to perceive, distinguish and classify elements of the environment, such as plant and animal species, climatic phenomena (such as the proximity of rains due to the position of the clouds or atmospheric pressure), geographic or natural.

It is a type of intelligence that has allowed the human being to survive in the world and his evolution in it. It has to do with the ability to observe, experiment, reflect and question the environment.

Gardner added this intelligence to his initial list of 7 types in 1995, as he realized that the recognition of the natural environment played a preponderant role in human survival, both to recognize benevolent and harmful species (useful and harmful) and to take advantage of the environmental resources for the benefit of the human species.

People with high naturalistic intelligence are explorers, hunters, fishermen, botanists, biologists, geologists, gardeners, veterinarians, astronomers, physicists.


  • Hobby to collect stones, seashells, etc.
  • Curiosity about the natural environment.
  • Interest in studying the microscopic world.
  • Interest in the movement of the stars.
  • Love for the animals.
  • Passion for experiments.
  • Interest in planting plants and caring for them.
  • Observe the behavior of animals.

Activities to work on

  • Go camping and be in contact with nature.
  • Go out into the field to gaze at the stars.
  • Make a garden.
  • Use the microscope to observe particles.
  • Go on excursions.
  • Play games to recognize plant and animal species.
  • Do research projects with insects that can be collected close to home.
  • Learn to sort garbage.
  • Learn to make recycled paper.
  • Go fishing.
  • have pets

other intelligences

In a 2016 interview, Howard Gardner mentioned the possibility of adding another type of intelligence to his list, pedagogical intelligence, which allows you to successfully and effectively teach others.

It is the one that those pedagogues, professors, teachers would show, who have caused deep impressions (in the best sense) to their students and have sown in them the impulse and curiosity, essential factors to learn.

We hope you understood 8 types of intelligence.

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