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The 12 types of intelligence: which one do you own?

The 12 types of intelligence: which one do you own?

May 6, 2021

Intelligence is one of the features most valued by our society, along with beauty or health. This construct is often seen as a trait that you have or do not have, so it is common to talk about whether someone is intelligent or not. The reality is that intelligence is full of nuances .

Over the decades there has been a great debate about what types of intelligence exist. What happens with the boy who is not able to pass a math test but, instead, is capable of writing musical pieces of infinite beauty? What's wrong with the guy who does not have good language skills but is a programming genius? Much of this debate has focused on whether there was a unitary intelligence or different types of intelligence.


In today's article, let's review the different types of intelligence that exist based on the second option of this debate .

Different intelligence tests for different types of intelligence

The truth is that intelligence is an abstract construct, which has led to great discussions between different experts.

Psychologists have long been interested in this concept and today there are different types of intelligence tests. Some of them measure what is known as "G Factor" or unitary intelligence and others measure the different types of intelligence that we will discuss in this article. For example, logical-mathematical intelligence or linguistic intelligence .


  • You can know more about the intelligence tests in our article: "Types of intelligence tests"

The 12 types of intelligence

And of course, since this construct is studied, several theories have tried to explain what intelligence is. From the crystallized and fluid intelligence of Raymond Cattell, the two-factorial theory of Spearman or the multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner, there are many contributions that different researchers and professionals of psychology have left us to help us understand how human intelligence works.

This last theory, that of multiple intelligences, has been very influential when it comes to naming some of the most recognized intelligences and has contributed significantly to break with the paradigm of unitary intelligence.


But, What kinds of intelligence are there? Below you can see a list of the different types of intelligence.

1. Linguistic intelligence

As the name suggests, is the ability to master the language . But this type of intelligence not only includes oral language, but also writing or gestures, so it has a lot to do with the communicative process. People who have high linguistic intelligence have a special sensitivity for the meaning of words, the order of words, sounds, rhythms, metrics, etc. (for example, writers or poets).

  • You can learn more about this type of intelligence by reading this post: "Linguistic intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?"

2. Logical-mathematical intelligence

It is the ability to conceptualize logical relationships between actions or symbols (for example, a mathematician or scientist) . In other words, it is the ability to reason in a deductive and logical way and the ability to solve mathematical problems.

The psychologist Jean Piaget, when he did his studies, thought that he was working on a wide range of intelligences, but in fact he was studying logical-mathematical intelligence. The speed to solve mathematical problems is the most common indicator to determine how much logical-mathematical an individual possesses.

  • Recommended article: "Logical-mathematical intelligence: what is it and how can we improve it?"

3. Space intelligence

Spatial intelligence is defined as the human ability to observe the world and objects from different perspectives and, in addition, it is the ability to manipulate or create mental images to solve problems. This type of intelligence is composed of different skills: dynamic imagination, manipulation of images, graphic artistic skills or spatial reasoning, among others. People with high spatial intelligence are very good at puzzles or drawing. Sculptors, architects, painters or pilots are examples of individuals with high spatial ability.

  • More on this intelligence: "Spatial intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?"

4. Musical intelligence

While some people are very good at making sculptures or painting, others have a huge capacity to produce musical pieces , because they recognize and compose musical tones and rhythms with great talent. These advantaged people in the musical aspect have a high musical intelligence, which allows them to play instruments and read or compose musical pieces with ease.

5. Body and kinesthetic intelligence

And the dancers, what kind of intelligence do they have? For according to the theory of multiple intelligences they possess what is known as bodily or kinesthetic intelligence, which is the ability to use one's own body, that is, the coordination of bodily movements .

This type and intelligence makes visible a great connection between the mind (and emotions) and movement, and, in addition to the dancers, often have actors or athletes. Have you ever seen Leo Messi play? Surely he can not play a piece of Beethoven or make a caricature of Luis Suarez, but, with the ball on his feet, he is capable of doing things that are not available to anyone else.

6. Intrapersonal intelligence

There are individuals who have a remarkable ability to understand themselves , their thoughts and emotions and regulate their own behavior, because they are able to access their feelings and emotions and reflect on them. Although intrapersonal intelligence comprises self-knowledge and self-apprehension, it also includes an understanding of the human condition. Psychologists, philosophers or writers, generally have a high capacity in this type of intelligence. In addition, this type of individuals usually enjoy greater emotional and psychological well-being.

  • Know more: "Intrapersonal intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?"

7. Interpersonal intelligence

You may have observed that hand certain individuals who have a unique ability to get along or interact with other people . They are individuals who use their interpersonal intelligence when they interact with others efficiently, as they are able to understand, empathize and communicate appropriately.

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to discern the emotions and intentions of others and allows to interpret the words and gestures, or the goals and goals of other people. Politicians, professors or actors excel in this type of intelligence.

  • Recommended reading: "Interpersonal intelligence: definition and tips to improve it"

8. Emotional intelligence

One of the recent and great paradigms of intelligence is emotional intelligence. Although the concept of emotional intelligence was used for the first time by American psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990, it was Goleman who, thanks to his best-selling Emotional Intelligence (1995), made this construct famous.

Emotional intelligence includes both intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence , and is composed of five elements: emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, self-motivation, empathy and social skills. There are many researches that affirm that emotional intelligence brings many benefits: it minimizes the effects of stress and prevents it, improves emotional well-being, improves interpersonal relationships, improves work performance ...

9. Naturalist intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence refers to the sensitivity that some people show towards the natural world , because it is the ability to distinguish, order, classify, understand and use elements of the environment, objects, animals or plants. In the past, this type of intelligence was extremely important for survival. Biologists, peasants, botanists or hunters dominate this type of intelligence.

10. Existential intelligence

While some individuals live the day without dedicating much time to the motive of things, people with high existential intelligence tend to meditate on their existence . These kinds of thoughts can include the meaning of life and death. Existential intelligence is known as the ninth multiple intelligence in the theory of Howard Gardner, and he defines it as: "the ability to situate oneself with respect to the cosmos and with respect to the existential features of the human condition, as is the meaning of life and death, the final destiny of the physical and psychological world in deep experiences like the love of another person ".

The search for meaning, self-knowledge, own a scale of moral values, aesthetic joy or sense of mystery are some of the manifestations of this type of intelligence, which can be cultivated through the practice of meditation, contemplation or exercise to philosophize and dialogue.

While some authors speak of this type of intelligence as spiritual intelligence, others, on the other hand, affirm that they are two different types of intelligence, because existential intelligence goes far beyond positive and healthy spiritual behavior , beyond being a good person.

11. Creative intelligence

There are people who are made to work in a job that requires a mechanical and monotonous work and that adapt without problems to work environments of this type. But instead, There are people who seem to have their minds flying, who are always one step ahead of others and who are constantly innovating . These people have a high creative intelligence.

But what characterizes people with high creative intelligence? Fluency, that is, the ability to produce many ideas; flexibility, to see and approach situations in different ways; and originality, to produce unusual or novel answers.

  • How are creative people? Find out in this article: "The 7 personality traits of creative people"

12. Collaborative intelligence

Recently a new concept of intelligence has appeared in the organizational environment, it is collaborative intelligence. It could be defined as the ability to choose the best option to achieve a certain goal working together , and is based on the idea of ​​teamwork, so necessary for today's companies.

In fact, teamwork is one of the competences most valued by recruiters, and that is why, faced with this new need when it comes to finding work, many masters or specialized courses in this type of intelligence are appearing.

  • If you want to go deeper into this topic, you can find all the information you need in our post: "Collaborative intelligence: what exactly is it?"

The 9 Types of Intelligence - What Your Talents Reveal About You (May 2021).


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