18 Types of Intelligence – Which do you identify with?

18 Types of Intelligence

The types of intelligence are the different abilities to solve problems. They are governed or regulated by specific regions of the brain.

The concept of multiple intelligences was developed by psychologist Howard Gardner as a series of biological and psychological potentials and capabilities of the human being to process certain kinds of information in certain ways.

These multiple intelligences should not be confused with learning, knowledge or work styles, or with talents or virtues. Nor can we assume that each intelligence is independent of the others.

Types of Intelligence

Below we present a brief review of each of the intelligences described so far.

1. Visual-spatial intelligence

Spatial visual intelligence includes the potential to recognize and manipulate patterns in space. This can be achieved by pilots, sculptors, architects and plastic artists.

One way to measure visual-spatial intelligence is to allow the person to explore a terrain and see if they can find the exit or put together a puzzle.

2. Logical-mathematical intelligence

Logical-mathematical intelligence involves the ability to analyze problems and perform mathematical operations logically. Examples of people with high level of this intelligence are mathematicians, statisticians and engineers.

3. Linguistic Intelligence

Linguistic intelligence refers to sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ease of learning languages ​​and the ability to use language to achieve goals. Examples of people with high linguistic intelligence are lawyers, writers and translators.

Linguistic intelligence is activated when we meet the sound of language or when we want to communicate verbally with others.

4. Musical intelligence

The ability to play an instrument is related to musical intelligence.

Musical intelligence implies the ability to compose and appreciate musical patterns. We use it when we compose songs or other musical creations, when playing instruments or appreciating the structure of a musical piece. This intelligence is highly developed in musicians, composers and singers.

5. Body-kinesthetic intelligence

Body or kinesthetic intelligence implies the potential to use the body or part of it (such as hands or mouth) to solve problems. Dancers, actors and athletes possess this kind of intelligence. It also occurs in people who perform crafts or require manipulation like surgeons and mechanics.

6. Interpersonal intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence denotes a person’s ability to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people and, consequently, relate and work effectively with others. This intelligence is valued in sectors that interact with the public, such as vendors, teachers, doctors, actors and politicians.

Mahatma Gandhi and Nicolás Maquiavelo are characters that manifested a high degree of interpersonal intelligence.

Read also: What is Critical Thinking? Know How to Develop It

7. Intrapersonal intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence involves the ability to understand oneself. We use it to know who we are: our strengths, weaknesses and personal goals. Intrapersonal intelligence is often misunderstood as the development of self-esteem or the intelligence of introverts.

A tragic example of high intrapersonal intelligence is achieved in Anne Frank (1929-1945), who expressed in great detail her hopes, desires and fears in her diary during World War II.

8. Naturalist intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence is related to the ability to categorize and recognize differences between organisms. A naturalist demonstrates knowledge in recognizing and classifying the numerous species of his environment. This intelligence is of importance to hunters, fishermen, farmers, meteorologists and biologists.

9. Spiritual-existential intelligence

This is the last of Gardner’s multiple intelligences, which still arouses controversy. It is about the ability to place oneself with respect to the cosmos and existential issues of the human condition, such as the meaning of life and death, the final destination of the physical and psychological worlds.

It also has to do with experiences as deep as love for another person or total immersion in a work of art. A high degree of this intelligence is credited to mystics, yogis, gurus and meditators. Examples of characters who manifested this type of intelligence are found in Buddha, Christ and Confucius.

10. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence encompasses a set of capabilities that allows the individual to interpret and respond to their own and others’ emotional states , adapting appropriate thoughts and behaviors. The concept of emotional intelligence was presented by Daniel Goleman in 1995.

Among the brain centers involved in the control of emotional intelligence we have:

  • the right tonsil,
  • the right somatosensory cortex,
  • the insula,
  • the anterior cingulate and
  • a portion in the prefrontal cortex.

Each of these centers controls reactions related to emotions and empathy.

11. Collective intelligence

Collective intelligence is the intelligence attributed to the systems of societies formed by relatively simple agents, such as ants, termites and bees, capable of performing complex cognitive actions at the collective level.

Social insects reach a high level of complexity capable of making decisions about their internal states, available environmental resources, damage protection and food collection strategies.

12. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence or AI (acronym in English) is defined as: “The interdisciplinary approach to understand, model and replicate intelligence and other human cognitive processes through computational, mathematical, logical and mechanical principles and devices.”

The objective of AI is to develop machines capable of carrying out tasks that require human intelligence. Examples of AI we have in facial recognition systems, robots or androids.

13. Fluid intelligence

Fluid intelligence is defined as the ability to analyze and solve novel problems without relying on prior knowledge . Fluid intelligence is part of general intelligence according to Raymond Cattell (1943), and is a critical factor in solving logic problems, identifying patterns and relationships.

14. Crystallized Intelligence

Crystallized intelligence is the part of general intelligence that understands what has been learned. It is reflected in the knowledge tests, in the general information and in the vocabulary.

15. Successful intelligence

“The ability to achieve our goals in life, according to our sociocultural context, capitalizing on strengths while correcting or compensating for weaknesses, to adapt, manipulate and select environments, through a combination of analytical, creative and practical capabilities.”

In this sense, intelligence is not what measures an intelligence test or test and is different for each individual. For example, someone with a high IQ can be a failure in life.

16. Practical intelligence

Practical intelligence refers to knowing how to do things. For example, mechanics in their workshops that repair a car without the help of diagnostic methods, street vendors who perform mathematical operations without calculators, or navigators in the Polynesian islands that cross the Pacific without compasses or GPS.

17. Social intelligence

Social intelligence refers to the ability to “get along with others.” It is the intelligence that is demonstrated in relationships with people around us. It includes social sensitivity, social perception and communication. Individuals in the autism spectrum have difficulty behaving and maintaining social relationships effectively.

18. Cultural intelligence

The concept of cultural intelligence was presented by PC Earley and S. Ang as the ” ability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity .” This concept arises from the globalization that we are experiencing in the 21st century, the increase in cultural interrelations and the likelihood of misunderstandings, tensions and intercultural conflicts.

You may also be interested in: The Importance of Attention in Learning


  • Gardner, HE (1999) Intelligence reframed. Basic Books
  • Solé, R. Amor, D., Duran-Nebreda, S. et al. (2016) Synthetic collective intelligence. BioSystems, 148, 47-61. DOI: 10.1016 / j.biosystems. 2016.01.002
  • Stenberg, RJ, Kaufman, SB (editors) (2011) The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wasserman, T, Wasserman, LD (2017) Touching the elephant: the search for fluid intelligence. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 6, 228-236. DOI: 10.1080 / 21622965.2017.1317489

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