Are you intelligent? Chances are how you answer this question is significantly influenced by cultural prejudice. In our highly technological society we tend to narrowly define intelligence as the ability to reason analytically. Although this certainly is one type of intelligence, it is erroneous to believe this is the only type of intelligence. Howard Garner, a researcher and professor, has studied intelligence for decades. His research has led him to believe that there are at least seven types of intelligence.
1. Linguistic: This type of intelligence includes verbal comprehension, syntax, semantics, and written and oral expression and understanding. Individuals with this type of intelligence tend to learn best through the printed word. Schools cater to this type of learning (along with Logical-Mathematical). Any career which encourages thinking in words, such as writers and lawyers, tends to make the most of this type of intelligence.
2. Logical-Mathematical: This type of intelligence includes inductive and deductive reasoning and computational abilities. Individuals with this type of intelligence tend to learn best through the spoken word, a real plus for students since so much of learning in school is dependent on listening skills. Mathematicians, scientists, and computer programers make good use of this type of intelligence.
3. Spatial: This type of intelligence utilizes the capacity to represent and manipulate spatial configurations. Individuals with this type of intelligence don’t really “get it” until they have actually had a chance to do some “hands on” learning. Pilots, surgeons, architects, and sculptors usually have keen spatial intelligence.
4. Musical: This type of intelligence includes such abilities as pitch discrimination; sensitivity to rhythm; the ability to hear and perform themes in music; and music composition. These individuals actually think in music. Of course, musicians and composers make the most of this type of intelligence.
5. Bodily-Kinesthetic: This type of intelligence is seen in the ability to use all or part of one’s body to perform a task or fashion a product. Dancers, athletes, and surgeons make the most of this type of intelligence.
6. Interpersonal: This type of intelligence uses the ability to understand the action and motivations of others and to act sensibly and productively based on that knowledge. Teachers, ministers, politicians, and sales persons demonstrate this type of intelligence.
7. Intrapersonal: This type of intelligence provides a deeper understanding of self, that is, one’s own cognitive strengths and weaknesses, feelings and emotions. These are the individuals with excellent “emotional intelligence.” They tend to understand themselves well and others almost as well. Counselors often demonstrate this type of intelligence.
Even though most of us have all seven types of “intelligences,” we tend to be strongest in one. It is important to discover your intellectual gifts and develop that potential. By strengthening your strongest type of intelligence you not only increase your ability in that area, it, too, strengthens the other types of intelligences.