Multiple Intelligences

Theory of

Dr. Howard Gardner’s “Theory of Multiple Intelligences” suggests that people possess multiple types of intelligence. He believes that there are more intelligences than just those measured by the standard I.Q. tests. He asserts there are at least eight or nine different intelligences.

These intelligences are:

  • Verbal-Linguistic
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Spatial-Visual
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Musical-Rhythmic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalistic
  • Existential





About Multiple Intelligences



Verbal-Linguistic intelligence is the ability to use language and words to express oneself. Individuals who are strong in Verbal-Linguistic intelligence are able to use words well, both when writing and speaking. These individuals have a sensitivity to the meaning and order of words, as well as possess the ability to learn other languages.

Characteristics of Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

  • learning other languages
  • understanding order & meaning of words
  • good at explaining and teaching
  • good at remembering written and spoken information
  • good at debating or giving persuasive speeches
  • enjoys reading and writing




Logical-Mathematical intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns, reason deductively, and think logically. Individuals with high Logical-Mathematical intelligence are good at reasoning, recognizing patterns, calculating, understanding mathematical operations, and logically analyzing problems. These individuals tend to think logically, abstractly, and are able to perceive relationships and connections.

Characteristics of Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

  • able to recognize abstract patterns
  • possess strong problem solving skills
  • good at inductive and deductive reasoning
  • good at discerning relationships and connections
  • good at performing complex calculations




Visual-Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in terms of physical space and in three dimensions. Individuals with high Visual-Spatial intelligence rely on their sense of sight and being able to visualize an object. They have the ability to create internal mental images/pictures in their mind and are able to recognize and use the patterns.

Characteristics of Visual-Spatial Intelligence

  • able to recognize patterns easily
  • good at forming mental images
  • good at putting puzzles together
  • good at interpreting pictures, graphs, and charts
  • enjoys drawing, painting, and other visual arts




Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Individuals with strong Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence are good at body movement and perfection of skills through mind–body union. They have excellent hand-eye coordination and dexterity, as well as a keen sense of body awareness.

Characteristics of Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

  • able to control voluntary body movements
  • excellent physical coordination
  • possess strong mind and body connection
  • good at sports and dance
  • communicates well with body language
  • express themselves through the body




Musical-Rhythmic intelligence is the ability to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. Individuals with a high Musical-rhythmic intelligence are good at recognizing tonal patterns, rhythms, and sounds. They are able to discern pitch, rhythm, and tone.

Characteristics of Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence

  • possess a sensitivity to sounds
  • good at remembering songs and melodies
  • good at understanding musical structure, rhythm, and notes
  • good at recognizing musical patterns and tones
  • good at creating and reproducing melodies and rhythms
  • Enjoys singing and playing musical instruments




Interpersonal Intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with other people. Individuals who possess strong Interpersonal intelligence can perceive and understand other people’s emotions, intentions, desires, and motivations. They are able to note distinctions among others, perceive moods and temperaments of others, as well as entertain multiple perspectives.

Characteristics of Interpersonal Intelligence

  • possess a sensitivity to other’s moods, temperaments, motivations, and feelings
  • possess the ability to discern other’s underlying intentions and behavior
  • Collaborates well in a group
  • good at communicating verbally and nonverbally
  • good at creating positive relationships with others
  • good at resolving conflict




Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself and one’s thoughts. Individuals who are strong in Intrapersonal intelligence are aware of their own emotional states, feelings, fears, and motivations. They tend to know what they can and cannot do, what they want to do, and how they react in certain situations. They use that knowledge to plan and direct their life.

Characteristics of Intrapersonal Intelligence

  • mindful
  • spiritual
  • self-aware
  • good at self-reflection
  • good at analyzing their strengths and weaknesses
  • good at understanding their own motivations and feelings




Naturalistic Intelligence is the ability to understand living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). Individuals who are strong in Naturalistic Intelligence are in tune with nature and are often interested in nurturing, exploring the environment, and learning about other species.

Characteristics of Naturalistic Intelligence

  • possess an awareness of changes in weather
  • good at recognizing one’s connection to nature
  • good at applying science theory to life
  • good at growing plants
  • good at taking care of animals
  • enjoys camping, gardening, hiking and exploring the outdoors



Existential Intelligence

Existential intelligence is the ability to conceptualize or grapple with the deeper questions about human existence. Individuals who are strong in Existential intelligence are not afraid to tackle thinking about questions that revolve around such issues as the meaning of life. They will contemplate questions like why we are born, why we die, or how did we get here.

Characteristics of Existential Intelligence

  • reflective
  • a deep thinker
  • good at designing abstract theories
  • good at seeing the big picture
  • good at understanding the world around them



Related Links

Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom

Multiple Intelligences

Theory of Multiple Intelligences


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