Multiple Intelligences Defined

by Joanna Christodoulou

The succinct definitions of the nine intelligences here are drawn from the 25 years of work on multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner of Harvard University, most recently in Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons.

Linguistic intelligence: ability to perceive and generate spoken or written language;

Logical-mathematical intelligence: ability to appreciate and use numerical, abstract and logical reasoning to solve problems;

Musical intelligence: ability to create, communicate and understand meanings made out of sound;

Spatial intelligence: ability to perceive, modify, transform and create visual and/or spatial images;

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: ability to use all or part of one’s body to solve problems or fashion products;

Naturalist intelligence: ability to distinguish among critical features of the natural environment;

Interpersonal intelligence: ability to recognize, appreciate, and contend with the feelings, beliefs and intentions of other people;

Intrapersonal intelligence: ability to understand oneself, including emotions, desires, strengths and vulnerabilities, and to use such information effectively in regulating one’s own life; and

Existential intelligence (potential): ability to be sensitive to, or have the capacity for, conceptualizing or tackling deeper or larger questions about human existence.