What Are The 12 Types Of Intelligence?

Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Editorial Team

Great people have defined intelligence in their own ways. While Einstein stated, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. Intelligence is characterized by having certain traits of perceiving and learning things differently which makes all of us unique in having unique intelligence.

Few of us may be good at maths and logical reasoning, and few can learn language and vocabulary faster at a very young age. These attributes may sometimes be reflected in academic performance too. 

That being the case, many are often confused to identify which intelligence they really possess. Accordingly, to learn and excel in something, you need to comprehend the multiple types of intelligence and thereby work upon them to succeed.

Theory of multiple intelligence- The advent of the intellects’ theorem

Howard Gardner, a psychologist in 1983, introduced the existence of multiple types of intelligence in his book called “Frames of Mind” With his theory, he denied the conventional idea of intelligence by proposing that there can be people differently skilled, where one person can be good at numbers, and another can be good at communication. The book was well-liked as the characteristics of each category were well described with attributes and examples.

Categories of intelligence – And everything you may want to know about them

At first, Gardner introduced the concept of 7 types of intelligence, yet later included two other types of intelligence, and then by the time other intelligence has been added. Accordingly, here are 12 types of Intelligence that are currently categorized:

1. Logical-mathematical Intelligence

The ability to look at problems logically and perform maths skills to solve them is logical-mathematical intelligence. It also involves examining and solving science-related problems. The people with this intelligence are good at calculations, quantifying, and performing complex logical and maths operations. 

These Individuals use abstract and symbolic thinking abilities, reasoning, and patterns. They can develop equations and do research to solve abstract problems and are fit for the fields of Mathematics and physics. Accordingly, they have the following skills:

  • Gripping Knowledge of numbers and logical notions. Further, they often are precise in estimations.
  • Prefer to experiment and relish in mysteries, puzzles, and thrillers.
  • Characterized with good reasoning skills, and can effortlessly learn any pattern.  

 Since they prefer to work with numbers, careers as accountants and analysts can be befitting for them. 

2. Linguistic  Intelligence

This intelligence type is all about abilities to speak and write the language. It manifests that it’s an ability to learn and use a language effectively. Many popular writers and great speakers possess this linguistic intelligence. Individuals with linguistic capabilities are good at grammar, vocabulary, and speaking and can express themselves in a language. 

linguistic intelligence

They can analyze complex words express their meaning and use them easily. These Individuals can interpret the information precisely and are good at oral and written language. Consequently here are the key attributes that these individuals have:

  • Gripping mastery in vocabulary in one or multiple languages is ensured by their preference for reading and writing habits
  • Due to their interest, these individuals can learn languages effortlessly
  • They can discern the sound and comprehend the meaning from the word structure, thereby making reading facile for them. 

Linguistic intelligence can be developed with some activities. Such aspirants can look into career options like journalist, lawyer, and orator. 

3. Spatial Intelligence

The art of discerning various patterns and dimensions in space obligates spatial intelligence. The best instance is a pilot discerning the surroundings being in flight. Not only pilots but also professionals like architects also need such intellect. In Layman’s terms, Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in a three-dimensional way. 

Individuals who have it have extraordinary capabilities to recognize and manipulate large-scale spatial images straightforwardly. They have excellent imagination power. Further, they can be identified with the following traits:

  • Knowing the surroundings
  • Being artistic and retaining visuals from movies, photos, and other sources
  • Discern patterns and ensure a sense of direction
  • Prefer puzzle solving, as this involves the arrangement of pieces in the right direction

In layman’s terms, spatial perception, orientation, and mental rotation form the signs of these individuals. Such aspirants can choose careers like graphic design, architecture, or sculpture. 

4. Kinesthetic Intelligence

Here, the individual often employs their arms and sense of touch to grasp new notions. Individuals having it can become athletes dancers, or carpenters. They can solve problems or create products. 

kinesthetic inteligence

Individuals with kinesthetic intelligence are capable of solving problems with deep mind-body coordination. They have great control over automatic movements, so they can competently use their body to excel in their fields.

Here are a few noteworthy skills that such individuals possess:

  • They are pragmatic learners, who like to explore and come out of monotony
  • They prioritize going out to learn over reading
  • They are often not great spellers

Such individuals can aspire to careers like technicians, and wielders, where kinesthetics play a crucial role.

5. Musical Intelligence

Musical intelligence implies the ability to interpret and compose musical notes, instruments, and patterns. Individuals with it have the quality to recognize, compose, and create melodic music. They tend to learn music, notes, instrument playing, etc., easily and efficiently.

musical intelligence

They can differentiate various music styles, and also compose various versions of music. They have a special sensitive feel for the music, and they will know easily and detect the wrong notes playing on an instrument. Accordingly, here are the distinct skills that characterize these individuals:

  • Grip on musical instruments and tunes 
  • Musical patterns are often effortless for them
  • They find rhythm in everyday chores to relish and learn

Mills[1] in his research found that musical intelligence includes traits like MI, music integration, musical growth, and assessment. Further, it is also outlined that the political climate of the school is also cited as highly influential in the extent of such intelligence in students. 

6. Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is the capacity to recognize and understand other individuals’ intentions, motivations, and wishes and use it assertively to engage with them. Individuals with this type of intelligence develop the ability to recognize and understand other people’s psychological sides. Here are some appreciable skills of people with interpersonal intelligence:

  • Effective oral and written communication
  • They can sense the depth of the issue, thereby dealing with scenarios better
  • Ability to look at a deal in multiple dimensions, and not only an empathetic approach.
  • Look forward to resolving conflicts in the workplace and home

For their better management and communication abilities, these can turn towards careers like managers, administrators, sociologists, and counselors. 

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal Intelligence is the basic ability to imply the ability to understand oneself in a better way. They are well aware of their wishes and desires, feelings and moods, and they can utilize this information to manage their lives brilliantly. 

They possess a kind of intelligent self-recognition, and they understand how their cognitive skills work. Intrapersonal intelligence makes them efficient in making correct decisions and solving issues. With these attributes, aspirants can look forward to careers like Psychologists, therapists, and Theologians. 

Joengbin Choi[2] in his research looked at the effect of the Development program for intrapersonal intelligence, This course had digital attributes, flipped learning, and timelessness.  The result showed a positive effect on students in improving these intellects.  

8. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be seen as a conjunction of intrapersonal and interpersonal Intelligence. It refers to the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions and others. It consists of five abilities – emotional self-awareness, self-control, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills. 

These individuals know their moods, feelings, and emotions very well and know how to manage them assertively. These Individuals are emotional, but they don’t let their emotions overwhelm them. They know psychological resources to manage their emotions properly. Consequently, here are positive areas where they get distinct:

  • Being self-aware, and self-regulated
  • Ensuring motivation all the time
  • Gripping Social Skills and Empathy

With these dominant attributes, these individuals can choose careers like writers, filmmakers, and actors. 

9. Naturalistic Intelligence 

Naturalistic intelligence is the skill set to perceive the connection between species and people. Individuals having this intelligence can recognize any difference or similarity between them. They can easily identify and classify certain group members by observing them. Nonetheless, individuals can recognize the types of species in nature and are sensitive to their environment and surroundings. They have a natural curiosity to examine and search their environment to find something new and connect with nature. 

With these attributes, naturalistic intelligence may assist an individual to aspire for careers like animal trainer, park ranger, landscaper, or marine biologist. Mark A. Hydes[3] studied the importance of naturalistic education in students. The time spent outdoors alone and with other people with naturalistic intelligence helped the students to learn subjects like biology better, and also about careers that they can pursue. 

10. Existential Intelligence

Gardner defined existential intelligence as the capacity to locate oneself concerning the cosmos and the human condition and their existential features, such as the meaning of birth(the beginning of life) and death (the end of life), and deep encounters like love for another Individual.

An Individual with this intelligence can reflect on his existence and the meaning of life and death. They mostly live spiritual and philosophical lives and question each and everything that happens around them. They do have the ability to observe the environment and themselves. Here are some other distinct skills they possess:

  • They prefer philosophies to elucidate everything around
  • Trust in organic methods of resolving issues. For instance, meditation
  • They often have a calming nature to guide pupils and mates

These attributes may turn such individuals into careers like meditation instructors, pastors, or public speakers. 

11. Creative Intelligence

This intelligence refers to combining intelligence with imagination to create a product or conceptualize an idea creatively. Individuals with creative intelligence usually can think uniquely and come up with new and innovative ideas. Professions that require creative thinking skills can be the take-ins for individuals possessing such intelligence.

They use this intelligence by imagining different possibilities in their lives or careers. They have open and flexible thinking abilities to see things from an unusual perspective to find a unique solution. Apart from these, some other skills may distinguish these people:

  • Curiosity to learn and explore
  • Openness towards new decisions and changes
  • Ability to constantly learn new skills to get further creative.
  • All the above traits are acted by rigid self-motivations and determination. 

12. Collaborative Intelligence

This intelligence has emerged as a new type in the modern digital era. It refers to the capacity to work in a collaborative setting or with teams to achieve a common aim. It also implies an order of deliberation, which makes team members share their knowledge and decide. 

This intelligence helps overcome the challenges (if any) in a complex environment. It is a special kind of intelligence as it makes individuals work with others. These Individuals are comfortable working with teams and show their best efforts in collaborative settings. Here are some skills that make them divergent:

  • Peering attitude, as long as one shares nature
  • Having a global perspective of things around
  • Concentration, and self-balance
  • They often indulge in most of the conversations happening around them ensuring good relationships

Individuals with collaborative intelligence can look for profiles like customer service representatives and bank sales managers, where relationships with clients are eminent. 

Questionnaire: Find what intelligence you have!

Comprehending the twelve types of intelligence, you may be enticed to know what intelligence you possess. While you may need a professional to determine the same accurately, you can check a few attributes of your personality to come to general perceptions. Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself:

  • What is your favorite Subject?
  • Do you love music or numbers?
  • What would you prefer to do in your leisure time?
  • What Genre of books and movies do you prefer?
  • What would you appreciate in a person?
  • What sorts of techniques do you employ to study for a test?

Concluding thoughts

The multiple intelligence theory is a daring idea that presents a different perspective than the conventional concept of intelligence. This theory is not limited to the skill set recognized as intelligence related to academic excellence. 

When individuals understand their skills and talents, they can figure out the possibilities to achieve their personal and professional goals. An Individual is destined to succeed if he works well with his intelligence and skill set.


  1. The Role of Musical Intelligence in a Multiple Intelligences Focused Elementary School. (2000). Mills, Susan W.
  2. Development of Program Model for Improving Intrapersonal Intelligence Based on FLIPPEDLEARNING. (2021). Joengbin Choi.
  3. Into the Field: Naturalistic Education and the Future of Conservation. (2009). MARK A. HAYES.

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