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9 Kinds of Intelligence–Which do You Possess?

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Academic performance is widely accepted as an indication of intelligence. But excellent grades may only equate to a talent for memorizing facts, figures, and formulas, not necessarily wisdom, brilliance, or street smarts. Various kinds of intelligence seem to exist, considering the world is replete with millionaire and billionaire high school and college dropouts.

Howard Gardner, in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, proposes seven different kinds of intelligence.

Supporters of Gardner’s theory contend the traditional definition of intelligence is too restricted, and that humans think and learn in different ways.

Critics say his theory isn’t scientific enough, and that Gardner is simply using the word intelligence instead of the word ability.

Below are the seven different forms of intelligence, as defined on Gardner’s website, plus two more.


“The ability to conceptualize and manipulate large-scale spatial arrays (e.g. airplane pilot, sailor), or more local forms of space (e.g. architect, chess player).”


“The ability to use one’s whole body, or parts of the body (like the hands or the mouth), to solve problems or create products (e.g. dancer).”


“Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre. May entail the ability to sing, play musical instruments, and/or compose music (e.g. musical conductor).”


“Sensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words, and the sound, rhythms, inflections, and meter of words (e.g. poet). (Sometimes called language intelligence.)”


“The capacity to conceptualize the logical relations among actions or symbols (e.g. mathematicians, scientists). Famed psychologist Jean Piaget believed he was studying the range of intelligences, but he was actually studying logical-mathematical intelligence.”


“The ability to interact effectively with others. Sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations (e.g. negotiator). (Sometimes called social intelligence.)”


“Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals, and anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one’s own traits. Intrapersonal intelligence is not particular to specific careers; rather, it is a goal for every individual in a complex modern society, where one has to make consequential decisions for oneself. (Sometimes called self intelligence.)”


“The ability to make consequential distinctions in the world of nature as, for example, between one plant and another, or one cloud formation and another (e.g. taxonomist). (Sometimes called nature intelligence.)” This wasn’t part of Gardner’s original seven, but he added it in 1999.

Gardner also suggested “existential” intelligence in his 1999 book, which could be interpreted as spiritual intelligence.

What is spiritual intelligence?

Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, California Robert Emmons defines it as “the adaptive use of spiritual information to facilitate everyday problem solving and goal attainment.”

He proposed four parts of spiritual intelligence:

  1. “The capacity to transcend the physical and material.”
  2. “The ability to experience heightened states of consciousness.”
  3. “The ability to sanctify everyday experience.”
  4. “The ability to utilize spiritual resources to solve problems.”

Based on our observations, if you have high spiritual intelligence, you may seem unusual, even weird, to most people. You may have tried to fit in, but feel like an outsider or misfit. You may be very psychic, empathic, and sometimes aware of the truth of situations to the point of it being overwhelming.

From where do the natural abilities associated with each form of intelligence originate? Are they just random talents included with the body? Are they gifts from God?

We believe natural abilities are usually the result of earning them through practice in past lives, even if you don’t consciously remember the past lives. Some people are fortunate to possess more than a few forms of intelligence. This might indicate they’ve worked hard in many lifetimes to master the skills.

The vast majority of people aren’t super-human, possessing high levels of multiple forms of intelligence. Even Stephen Hawking, who is considered one of the most intelligent men in the world, may not be extremely spiritually intelligent, in our opinion.

In an interview published in The Guardian, Hawking said he believes there is, “no heaven or afterlife,” and that such a notion was a, “fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Mr. Hawking doesn’t appear to have done any research about life after death, unlike Stafford Betty PhD, who has been researching it for over 25 years. Isn’t a sign of intelligence not passing judgment on that which you haven’t thoroughly investigated?

As you can see, everyone is different and unique, and there certainly seems to be many different kinds of intelligence. When you follow your passions and develop your talents, you’ll be improving your form of intelligence and, or ability.

Our Direct Your Destiny e-Package helps you boost your spiritual intelligence to get more out of life. https://spiritualgrowthnow.com/directyourdestiny/

Copyright © 2015 Stephen Petullo, Scott Petullo