What different kinds of intelligence are there? We explain it in this summary.
The intelligence is one of the features most valued by our society, along with the beauty or health. This construct is usually seen as a trait that you have or you 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 to the boy who can’t pass a math test but is able to write pieces of music of infinite beauty instead? What about the kid who’s not good at languages 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, we are going to 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 is why it has caused great discussions among 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 talk about in this article. For example, logical-mathematical intelligence or linguistic intelligence.
- You can learn more about 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 – factor theory of Spearman or multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner, there are many contributions that different researchers and practitioners of psychology have given 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 breaking with the paradigm of unitary intelligence.
But what types of intelligence are there? Below you can see a list of the different types of intelligence.
1. Linguistic intelligence
As its name suggests, it is the ability to master 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, their order, sounds, rhythms, meter, 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 the logical relationships between actions or symbols (for example, a mathematician or scientist). In other words, it is the ability to reason deductively and logically and the ability to solve mathematical problems.
The psychologist Jean Piaget, when he studied, thought that he was working on a wide range of intelligences, but in reality he was studying logical-mathematical intelligence. The speed to solve mathematical problems is the most common indicator to determine how much logical-mathematical intelligence an individual possesses.
- Recommended article: “Logical-mathematical intelligence: what is it and how can we improve it?”
3. Spatial 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 in order to solve problems. This type of intelligence is made up of different abilities: dynamic imagination, manipulation of images, artistic graphic 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 an enormous capacity for making musical pieces, since they recognize and compose musical tones and rhythms with great talent. These musically gifted people have high musical intelligence, allowing them to play instruments and read or compose musical pieces with ease.
5. Bodily and kinesthetic intelligence
And the dancers, what kind of intelligence do they have? Well, 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 the emotions) and the movement, and, in addition to the dancers, it is usually possessed by actors or athletes. Have you ever seen Leo Messi play? Surely he can’t play a Beethoven piece or make a Luis Suárez caricature, but, with the ball at 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 encompasses self-knowledge and self-appreciation, it also includes understanding the human condition. Psychologists, philosophers or writers generally have a high capacity in this type of intelligence. In addition, these types of individuals tend to enjoy greater emotional and psychological well-being.
- Learn more: “Intrapersonal intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?”
7. Interpersonal intelligence
You may have observed that there are certain individuals who have a unique ability to get along or relate to other people. They are individuals who use their interpersonal intelligence when interacting with others efficiently, as they are capable of understanding, empathizing and communicating appropriately.
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to discern the emotions and intentions of others and to interpret the words and gestures, or the goals and objectives of other people. Politicians, professors or actors are advantageous in this type of intelligence.
8. Emotional intelligence
One of the recent great paradigms of intelligence is emotional intelligence. Although the concept of emotional intelligence was used for the first time by the American psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990, it was Goleman who, thanks to his best-seller Emotional Intelligence (1995), made this construct famous.
Emotional intelligence comprises both intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence, and is made up of five elements: emotional self- awareness, emotional self-control , self- motivation, empathy, and social skills. There are many investigations that affirm that emotional intelligence provides many benefits : it minimizes the effects of stress and prevents it, improves emotional well-being, improves interpersonal relationships, improves work performance …
9. Naturalistic intelligence
Naturalistic intelligence refers to the sensitivity that some people show towards the natural world, since 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, farmers, botanists or hunters master this type of intelligence.
10. Existential intelligence
While some individuals live the day without spending much time on the motive of things, people with high existential intelligence tend to meditate on their existence. These types of thoughts can include the meaning of life and death. Existential intelligence is known as the ninth multiple intelligence in Howard Gardner’s theory, and he defines it as: “the ability to locate 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 such as love for another person ”.
The search for meaning, self-knowledge, having one’s own scale of moral values, aesthetic joy or the sense of mystery are some of the manifestations of this type of intelligence, which can be cultivated with 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, since existential intelligence goes far beyond spiritually positive and healthy behavior, beyond being a good person. .
11. Creative intelligence
There are people who are made to work in a job that requires mechanical and monotonous work and who adapt without problems to work environments of this type. But, instead, there are people whose minds seem to be flying, who are always one step ahead of others and who are constantly innovating. These people possess high creative intelligence.
But what characterizes people with high creative intelligence? Fluency, that is, the ability to produce many ideas; the flexibility, to see and approach situations in different ways; and originality, to fabricate unusual or novel responses.
- 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 it is based on the idea of teamwork, so necessary for today’s companies.
In fact, teamwork is one of the competencies that recruiters value the most, 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 delve into this topic, you can find all the information you need in our post: ” Collaborative intelligence: what exactly is it? “