Being considered smart is a highly sought-after trait, and one that few folks realize is multilayered—that is, there are a number of different ways a person can be smart. According to one framework, there are eight types of intelligence humans can possess: linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligence. Each offer their own strengths and value, and the good news is that you can take the ‘types of intelligence test’ to learn which ones best describe you.
Officially called the Multiple Intelligences and Learning Style Test, the quiz, available on Psychology Today, is made up of 33 questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete (per the test’s website). It’s based on the concept of multiple intelligences, created in 1983 by developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, PhD, a professor of education at Harvard University.
Though it’s been decades since the advent of Dr. Gardner’s theory, clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, PhD, agrees that taking the types of intelligence test can help folks get a better and fuller snapshot of themselves than a less precise, general, un-layered understanding of “smartness” might. “The smart-type test really gives people a better understanding and perspective on what intelligence is or can be,” says Dr. Klapow. “Intelligence is very broad and the definition of [it] is not specific. It can be applied in many different ways.”
“[Intelligence] can be applied in many different ways.” —psychologist Joshua Klapow, PhD
But, to make sure you get the best picture of your intelligence from the test, it’s crucial to be honest with yourself as you take it. “This isn’t something that you answer in a ‘socially desirable’ manner. This only works if you answer the questions truthfully and very personally,” says Dr. Klapow.
Also important to note is that Dr. Klapow says a person’s results aren’t actually measuring their intelligence in a matter-of-fact way. “The people who score really high on any of these—that doesn’t mean you’re going to [use it]it means you have the potential to,” he says. (Read: Making these traits work for you depends, well, on you.)
Keep reading to learn about the eight types of intelligence and what they may mean for you, according to Dr. Klapow.
What each of the types of intelligence from the test might mean for you
1. Linguistic intelligence
According to Dr. Klapow, linguistic intelligence is the “ability to use language in a variety of ways.” People who score high on linguistic intelligence often think about how and when they’ll deliver a message as well as carefully consider the person to whom they’re delivering it.
“There is a natural ability there to use words and language to your advantage in a way that people who score lower don’t,” Dr. Klapow adds. Scoring high on this test also means that you might be a gifted writer, orator, activist, or playwright, per the sample results of the types of intelligence test.
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence
Dr. Klapow says people who score high in logical intelligence tend to have strong analytical skills, are drawn to quantitative problems, and are naturally comfortable with reasoning, as well as scientific practices.
Per the sample test results, this type of intelligence is “most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking,” so a high score on logical intelligence might mean you’d make a good scientist, mathematician, engineer, or programmer (assuming you aren’t t already).
3. Visual-spatial intelligence
When someone scores high in visual-spatial intelligence, they usually have a strong “capacity to perceive the visual world and to accurately transform, manipulate, and re-create mental images,” per the test’s explanation.
These are folks who’re gifted at reading maps, orienting themselves in a new environments, rearranging furniture, and maximizing closet space.
4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
Someone with this type of intelligence is highly coordinated, has exceptional motor skills, and tends to learn best through hands-on approaches. And to be sure, “bodily and kinesthetic [intelligence] is not just sports and athletics—it’s awareness of your position in space and time,” says Dr. Klapow, adding that athletes certainly fall into this category, but surgeons and carpenters do as well. “This refers to people whose awareness and ability to manipulate their bodies in space, or in the world, is heightened… It can be anything where your body is needed to execute something, and having an affinity for that.”
5. Musical intelligence
As its name suggests, musical intelligence “encompasses the ability to compose and perform musical patterns, and recognize pitches, tones, and rhythms,” according to the test’s sample result. “Musicians will fall into this category,” says Dr. Klapow.
That said, he adds that this is a type of intelligence that easily lends itself to other types, as well. For example, “They may also fall into the body-kinesthetic [intelligence]. They may also fall into more of the, believe it or not, logical-mathematical piece, because [they compose] music.” Additionally, music is a language of its own, so there might also be an overlap with linguistic intelligence, says Dr. Klapow.
6. Interpersonal intelligence
“Interpersonal intelligence is your affinity for relationships, understanding, dissecting, and prioritizing relationships between you and others,” says Dr. Klapow. Per the quiz’s definition, it describes “the capacity to understand and interact effectively with others” and can be referred to as “the people-person intelligence.”
Dr. Klapow adds that people with high interpersonal intelligence “understand how people communicate with one another” as well as “how verbal language, emotions, and thoughts or cognition play to form relationships,” which might mean these folks’ interpersonal relationships are in good shape. It might also mean that they lead teams or work in humanitarian fields.
7. Intrapersonal intelligence
Per the definition in the sample test results, “intrapersonal intelligence is the capacity to detect and discern among one’s own feelings (self-knowledge) and the ability to use that knowledge for personal understanding.”
And to be clear,”interpersonal” and “intrapersonal” are quite different. Interpersonal intelligence deals with your connections to others, while intrapersonal intelligence is about how you “learn about yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your behaviors, and how you interact with the world,” says Dr. Klapow. It makes sense, then, that people with this intelligence type would make good psychologists and philosophers.
8. Naturalistic intelligence
“Naturalistic intelligence…refers to a deep and extensive understanding of the natural world,” according to the test results. People with high naturalistic intelligence are highly observant when it comes to plants, animals, rocks, butterflies, or anything else found in nature.
Like musical intelligence, natural intelligence leaves room for plenty of overlap with other intelligence types, says Dr. Klapow, so if someone scores high here, it doesn’t mean they’re destined for a life in the great outdoors. “This is somebody who is really drawn to the natural world, but they can come at it in different ways… This doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a microbiologist or not—this means you have an interest in and you’ re drawn to aspects of the natural world.”
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