Is there more than one kind of intelligence? How should we define intelligence? Can we really measure it? What is intelligence, really?

Several experts in the field of intelligence have proposed that we need to broaden our understanding of what intelligence really is, and the role it plays in successful living. If we define intelligence primarily as an aptitude for mathematical and linguistic/logical thinking, we may be missing other forms of intelligence that are also important.

A Harvard professor named Dr. Howard Gardner has spent many years studying the topic of intelligence in human beings. As a result of his studies, Dr. Gardner has proposed that our current beliefs about intelligence should be revised and expanded.

Dr. Gardner has suggested we consider at least seven different forms of intelligence.

These are:

• verbal-linguistic

• logical-mathematical

• visual-spatial

• musical

• bodily-kinesthetic

• social-interpersonal

• intra-personal.

See if you can discover which of these forms of intelligence is strongest in you.

People who have a strong linguistic-verbal intelligence will respond in a deep way to language and words. They love the way that language sounds and the way that words can be put together to create moods and special effects. A person who is high in linguistic intelligence will get a deep sense of meaning and pleasure from the way that language is used.

Writers, poets, and editors have a very high degree of linguistic or verbal intelligence. People who exhibit a strong need to correct errors in grammar are also very strong in this trait.

People with logical-mathematical intelligence are logical and systematic. They are are very good at analyzing data and they can follow complex chains of ideas to reach a logical conclusion. These people favor reason over passion. People with logical-mathematical intelligence can become successful lawyers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and scientists.

Artists, decorators, fashion designers, sculptors, photographers and architects must possess strong visual-spatial intelligence to succeed in their fields. Among people who have this trait, some will have a glorious, passionate understanding of color. Others will very strongly respond to visual line, texture, or three-dimensional space.

A person with musical intelligence may not necessarily play or compose music, but he will be always be a passionate lover of music, getting far more out of the experience than an average person. Musical intelligence is an ability to understand and respond to music, not just as background noise, but with a capacity to get deep meaning from the interaction of melodies, textures and rhythms.

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is very high in those people who are athletes and dancers. It is also a great asset in actors. These people are extremely attuned to where all parts of their body are located in space and are able to exert very subtle yet powerful control over all their muscles.

People with a high degree of interpersonal intelligence are good at picking up cues to the emotions of others and understanding the emotional states of those around them. They are particularly good at empathizing with others, and they know how to comfort, inspire and lead people. This is a good trait to have in a political leader. It is also a desirable quality in teachers, therapists and salespeople.

Intra-personal intelligence is the ability to deeply know and understand oneself. It is the ability to analyze and assess one’s innermost qualities and behaviors. This is a form of intelligence that may be found in philosophers and spiritual leaders.

These are seven basic qualities or abilities that may be considered as special forms of intelligence. Each of these can be highly developed in certain individuals and can be an important component of a person’s success in life and career.

When you consider Dr. Gardner’s expanded definition of intelligence, which forms do you think are especially strong in you? Which do you think are particularly weak?

When you went to school, did your educational experience address your intelligence strengths? Or did it target the areas in which you were weakest?

If you want to be successful in your schooling and your career, you will have the best chance to be successful if you choose a career that uses your strongest form of intelligence.

Does your present career make good use of your strongest form of intelligence?

Author's Bio: 

This article is taken from the new book by science educator Royane Real titled "How You Can Be Smarter - Use Your Brain to Learn Faster, Remember Better and Be More Creative" Download it today or get the paperback version from