Infographic: 9 Types Of Intelligence

Intelligence is broken down into 9 different types, also called the 9 domains of intelligence. The following infographic shows that being good at math or languages are not the only two ways to be smart.

Source: Funders and Founders

This categorization of intelligence was first theorized by developmental psychologist Howard Gardner in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. From then onwards, the Multiple Intelligences theory has been used as one of the primary models for research that has gone on concerning human cognition. Gardner think that there is no one true way to measure intelligence and that the human brain is complicated like wired with a wide range of cognitive abilities.

Framing intelligence in the way Gardner does disrupts the old mold of thinking in which intelligence was ultimately a measure of )what Gardner would call) logical-mathematical intelligence. The premise of Gardner’s theory is that someone can be extremely bad at math but be the best of the best in another field such as music. Hence, limiting the definition of intelligence is detrimental to our understanding of how the human brain really works. Here is an overview of the 9 different types of intelligence;

➊ Naturalistic Intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence refers to a human being’s sensitivity to the natural world and living things. This is the ability to distinguish among nature’s different features such as animals, plants, rock configurations, cloud formations, and other such things. This type of intelligence was undoubtedly of great value in human evolutionary past as farmers, hunters and gatherers. Today, it remains a vital component of roles like being a chef or botanist. This type of intelligence is also seen in the way consumers discriminate among products like cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup and such things that are unnatural.

➋ Musical Intelligence

This group of intelligence are usually more sensitive to sounds that most individual aren’t aware of. This type of intelligence is the capacity to discern tone, rhythm, timbre and pitch. With this intelligence, people are able to detect, create, generate, reproduce and contemplate music as clearly exhibited by attuned listeners, composers, conductors, vocalist and musicians. It is interesting to note that there is often an affective connection between music and emotions as well as mathematics and music. You will find that young adults with this type of intelligence are usually drumming, singing or any other activity that demonstrates a melodic inclination.

➌ Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-mathematical intelligence equips a person with the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses and carry out mathematical operations. This type of intelligence tend to easily recognize relationships and patterns, demonstrate sequential reasoning skills, and generate and use abstract thoughts. Young adults with logical intelligence are attracted to logic puzzles, experiments, strategy games, and arithmetic problems. Later on, you might see these young adults become detectives, scientists and mathematicians.

➍ Existential Intelligence

People with existential intelligence tend to tend to mull over deep thoughts about human existence, such as why’s and how’s of life and death, meaning of life, how did we get here. Those with high existential intelligence are deeply philosophical.

➎ Interpersonal Intelligence

This type of intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective communicate through verbal and nonverbal means, to distinguish among others, to sense the temperament and moods of people, and to consider various points of view. Social workers, actors, teachers and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. It can also be found in young adults who hold leadership roles.

➏ Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to use a range of physical skills and manipulate objects. People with this intelligence also involves an almost perfect sense of timing and their mind-body coordination is nearly faultless. You will find that people with this type of intelligence are usually craftspeople, dancers, surgeons, athletes, and other careers involving exceptional mind-body union.

➐ Linguistic Intelligence

This type of intelligence involves the human capacity to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Though this human competence is widely used, it is most evident in the way effective poets, novelists, journalists and public speakers. Young adults with linguistic intelligence enjoy writing, storytelling, reading, writing and doing crossword puzzles.

➑ Intra-personal Intelligence

People who have the remarkable ability to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. While intra-personal intelligence does involve self-appreciation, it also comprises a wider understanding of the human condition. Young adults with this intra-personal intelligence posses a deeper awareness of their own emotions, self motivated and tend to be shy. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.

➒ Spatial Intelligence

Lastly, spatial intelligence is the ability to consider things in three dimensions. This type of intelligence involves the following core capacities: a dynamic imagination, image manipulation, mental imagery, artistic and graphic skills and spatial reasoning. People with this type of intelligence are highly creative. Young adults with spatial intelligence are deeply entrenched in solving jigsaw puzzles or mazes, or spend their extra time to drawing or daydreaming. Sailor, pilots, sculptors, painters and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence.

Bear in mind that this is just a model for intelligence and there are many who score high in more than one category. The most famous one that would come to mind is Leonardo De Vinci. Go over the list and analyze which type of intelligence you would categorize yourself. is a Business Angel Network accredited by the Malaysian Business Angel Network (MBAN) the official trade association and governing body for angel investors and angel clubs in Malaysia. We strive to bring entrepreneurs and investors in Asia to fuel the startup ecosystem. 

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Sally Yip

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