Did you know that intelligence can be categorized in eight different ways? Dr. Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist at Harvard, developed the multiple intelligences (MI) theory back in 1983. Today, educators and psychologists all over the world utilize MI theory to better understand how we learn and think.
According to the theory, people possess multiple cognitive modalities that can be classified into eight intelligences: logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic, musical, naturalistic, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Here is your guide to all of them:
People who demonstrate this intelligence have a knack for reasoning, numbers and problem-solving. If this is your strong suit, you might find yourself enjoying card games, sudoku, computer programming and stock trading.
Potential careers include becoming an accountant, engineer, detective or computer programmer. To develop this intelligence, try solving puzzles or practicing chess in your spare time.
If you are in this category, you must have a way with words. You are a good communicator and storyteller.
SAT words don't faze you, and you find it rather easy to codify information using language. Consider a career in journalism, law or advertising. To cultivate this intelligence, try watching the news and learning a new word each day.
MI theory posits that people who demonstrate aptitude in this modality tend to easily recognize and make meaning of musical patterns, rhythms and melodies. A career in film, creative advertising or studio recording might sit well with you.
To incorporate musical intelligence in your life, mindfully use music to help set the ambience and mood for your daily activities, like doing laundry, reading, working out, etc.
Fancy the outdoors? Then you might be naturalistically intelligent.
You relish activities like birdwatching in Central Park or rafting through the Grand Canyon. Jobs worth pursuing include veterinary science, archaeology, environmental science, tourism and leisure retail.
Interested in strengthening this intelligence? Try making a trip to the countryside, and immerse yourself in nature's wonders.
People with this intelligence have little difficulty processing and creating information visually. Their capabilities include strong attention to visual detail, a sense of direction and spatial awareness.
Graphic design artists, aviation specialists and surgeons typically display visual-spatial intelligence. Hone this intelligence in your free time by constructing "mind maps," or by traveling to your regular destinations via different routes.
Insanity or P90x anyone? The human brain's basal ganglia and cerebellum are often associated with kinesthetic intelligence.
This intelligence refers to the ability to have skillful and masterful control over one's bodily motions. Folks with strong kinesthetic intelligence are dextrous, have good hand-eye coordination and may express co-dominance with naturalistic intelligence.
If this is your dominant intelligence, look up careers in physical therapy, carpentry and personal fitness. Improve this intelligence by taking on a sport for a hobby or paying attention to people's body language.
Social butterflies score high in this category. Interpersonal intelligence refers to one's ability to decipher and skillfully respond to moods, emotions, social dynamics and human interactions. High scorers are great team members and have little trouble being charismatic interlocutors in social settings.
For careers, consider the fields of education, human resources, social work, counseling and mental health. Stimulate your brain's frontal lobe with this intelligence by listening to people more intently, or by observing the roles and contributions of people in team settings.
This one is a personal strength of mine. Intrapersonal intelligence measures one's adroitness in making meaning out of self-reflection.
Intrapersonal mavens advertently attune their actions and decisions to their goals, desires, motivations and intentions. Life coaches, spiritual leaders, ethicists and entrepreneurs channel intrapersonal intelligence in their professional lives.
To exercise this intelligence, try purchasing a journal (like this one that I religiously use), and take note of your day-to-day thoughts and experiences. Goal-setting apps like Lifetick or GoalsOnTrack can also build your intrapersonal muscles.
While people generally have one dominant intelligence, everyone exhibits an aptitude for all eight intelligences. According to MI theory, it is also worth noting that your intelligences are malleable. Thus, they can vary over time. To learn more about your smarts, take the MI quiz here.