Multiple Intelligences

By: Sam Sander

Multiple Intelligence Concept Map
Multiple Intelligence Concept Map

Your aptitude or ‘multiple intelligences’ is different from your behaviour preference as it describes what you are really interested in, rather than how you may behave, and helps you define what you really want out of your personal life and career. We are happiest and most successful when we learn, develop, and work in ways that make best use of our natural make-up. As such the ‘multiple intelligences’ indicator helps you to focus on the sorts of learning and work that will be most fulfilling and rewarding for you.

Again, I (Sam) will enlist the help of an expert in the field – Dr. Howard Gardner, psychologist and professor of education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Through his extensive research on ‘everyday’ people, he developed the theory of multipe intelligence that proposes 9 different intelligences (originally he only defined 7, but added 2 more after further research).

Gardner claims that all people have all intelligences but in varying amounts, such that each person has a unique intellectual make-up. These intelligences are located in different areas of the brain and can either work independently or together, can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened.

So what are the 9 multiple intelligences? They are described below. As you read through each one, think about your own preferences, interests, skills and abilities and see whether there is any particular intelligence (may be several) that apply to you.

Linguistic (Verbal) Intelligence

Well-developed verbal skills including reading, speaking, writing and self-expression. Interested in sounds and the meanings/ rhythms of words. Ability to learn new languages and use rhetoric. Likes learning new skills by reading, listening and writing.

Typical career interests and hobbies include writer, editor, poet, journalist, teacher, lawyer, politician, actor, commentator, etc.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Ability to think conceptually, abstractly and logically. Good with numbers, mental maths, logic puzzles, identifying patterns and decision-making, and can analyze problems logically. Likes learning through numbers and logic.

Typical career interests and hobbies include scientist, engineer, accountant, mathematician, accountant, statistician, trades person, computer programmer, homemaker, etc.

Musical Intelligence

Involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of music. Capacity to recognise pitch, tone and rhythm. Enjoys singing, playing an instrument, listening to/ analyzing the make-up of music, and is sensitive to the mood of music. Likes learning through music, sounds and rhythms.

Typical career interests and hobbies include musician, disc jockey, singer, composer, music teacher, instrument maker, choir, conductor, music critic, music collector, composer, etc.

Spatial (Visual) Intelligence <– Mind Map or Concept Map is a must tool

Capacity to think in images and pictures. Visualize, interpret and graphically represent visual or spatial ideas. Includes abilities in art, imagination, creativity, inventiveness and ingenuity. Use of colour, line, shape, form and space. Likes learning through pictures, shapes and images.

Typical career interests and hobbies include sculptor, artist, inventor, architect, mechanic, engineer, illustrator, photographer, interior decorator, clothing designer, builder, architect, art critic, etc.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements and use the body and tools to take effective action. Includes sports, agility, dance, entertainment, athleticism, strength and any skills that involve the use of your hands (like drafting, crafting, woodworking, precision work, etc.). Likes learning by hands-on experience, movement, touch and feel.

Typical career interests and hobbies include sportsman, athlete, PE teacher, dancer, actor, firefighter, mechanic, trainer, contractor, craftsperson, coach, salesperson, sports analyst, dance critic, sculptor, choreographer, actor, etc.

Interpersonal Intelligence

Ability to understand and appreciate people, including communication, empathy, helping and working effectively with others, etc. ability to build relationships and deal effectively with others. Includes talents such as persuasion, selling, networking, charm, making others feel comfortable, managing a team, conflict management, teamwork, cooperation, listening, charisma, and leadership. Likes learning through communication, human contact and teamwork.

Typical career interests and hobbies include counsellor, salesperson, politician, business person, minister, manager, social worker, doctor, nurse, therapist, teacher, sociologist, psychologist, psychotherapist, consultant, etc.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Ability to deal effectively with yourself and your emotions. This includes abilities such as knowing yourself, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, self-confidence, self-control, adaptability and flexibility to change, work ethic, commitment, initiative, persistence, empathy, political awareness, integrity, honesty, time management and overall character. Likes learning through self-reflection and self-discovery.

Typical career interests and hobbies include researcher, theorist, philosopher, planner, small business owner, psychologist, artist, clergy, etc.

Naturalist Intelligence

Ability to identify and recognise patterns and relationships in natural science. Recognise own connection to nature, apply science theory to life, recognise and classify plants, minerals, animals, etc. Likes learning through the outdoors, animals and field trips.

Typical career interests and hobbies include scientist, naturalist, landscape architect, vet, biology teacher, botanist, horticulturalist, park ranger, conservationist, etc.

Existential Intelligence

Sensitivity, curiosity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here. Enjoys reflective and deep thinking and design of abstract theories. Likes learning in the context of where humankind stands in the “big picture” of existence.

Typical career interests and hobbies include scientist, philosopher, theologian, politician, etc.


* Article from Achieve Goal Setting Success
* Picture from DesMoines