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The 7 Styles of Intelligence (& Why EVERYONE is a Creative Genius in Their Own Way…)

25 March 2011 No Comment

teacher and students in class

This is an interesting concept, and I just realized this morning that I never actually broke it down on the blog before.

Essentially, there are 7 different styles of intelligence: 7 unique, technically distinct ways in which we all express brain power. We each have a particular combination that we come hard-wired with (just like extroversion/introversion), so once you know your own set-up, you gain a degree of self-knowledge and self-confidence that nourishes you…

This 7-Style framework was developed by psychologist Howard Gardner, and is technically known as “The Theory of Multiple Intelligences” (or MI Theory). One of the things he found was that (and I’m sure you’ll agree) our school system tends to only encourages two types of intellectual capacity (linguistic and mathematical) while neglecting ALL of the other 5, leading children with alternate styles to feel as though they’re just “not intelligent.”

So let’s get into it. You’ll probably notice yourself in several of these, (being really strong in one or two and having a lighter predisposition to a third, for instance). Let me know what you think…

Linguistic Intelligence

african american child writing…is, of course, intelligence with words, the ability to articulate yourself skillfully, explain and comprehend ideas verbally, tell stories and what not. If someone has linguistic intelligence, they learn best by reading, writing, listening and debating.

Children with the linguistic style tend to enjoy reading, story-telling, crossword puzzles and other types of verbal games…

This is of course one of my own strong points…Gardner would say I have a “high ability to manipulate syntax and structure.” (As a child, I use to understand the symbolism in the fiction we read, but never said anything cause I thought it was weird of me.)

Logical (or Mathematical) Intelligence

…is just that: not only a strength with algebra or calculation, but also a profound ability to reason, to use one’s thinking in an objective way, to compare and contrast, and to categorize and notice relationships where others do not.

This is the style that most resembles measures of traditional intelligence (IQ tests, etc.). It evidences the ability not only to reason logically, but to INVESTIGATE, notice patterns, strategize, etc. etc. Children with mathematical intelligence tend to enjoy arithmetic, logic problems and chess…

Kinesthetic Intelligence

african american child playing baseball…is intelligence applied to the human body, most noticeably in dancers and athletes. Someone with a Bodily-Kinesthetic style actually processes knowledge through physical sensations.

This includes those with manual dexterity (using your hands intricately) and “a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses so they become like reflexes….”

Kinesthetic children learn best by actually getting up and involving their body (rather then hearing about it). They’re well-suited for careers as actors, pilots, surgeons, masons and so on…

Musical Intelligence

…is intelligence applied to sounds, tones, rhythms and harmony itself. Children with a musical style are discriminating listeners, and are highly sensitive to pitch, meter, melody and everything else along those lines.

This is another common one we can readily recognize (we’re almost trained to look for musical intelligence with the rise of shows like American Idol, etc.).

I used to play the drums, but I wouldn’t consider myself to be “musically intelligent” in the same way I do some of the people I came up around…I know people who at 16 years old almost mastered the drums, piano and other instruments SIMULTANEOUSLY, so compared to that, I just consider myself “aite.”

Spatial Intelligence

african american with toy airplane…is one of my favorites, not because I have it (because I don’t) but because it’s so distinct. Spatial intelligence is intelligence related to physical space.

It’s an ability to judge how different objects should, can and already do relate to one another in an environment (think architects, designers and certain types of artists). Children who excel with this style tend to enjoy leggos, jigsaw puzzles and drawing…

My first girlfriend in college was VERY spatial-oriented. I used to tell her all the time that she could be an interior-design expert, a feng-shui master or anything along those lines. She had this superior logic that was like advanced algebra applied to physical space or something, and it all came intuitively to her…

Inter-personal Intelligence

…is intelligence applied to how people work. Think of it as “social intelligence” because children with this proclivity tend to be leaders among their peers: they can communicate, persuade and understand another person’s motives extremely well.

Sales professionals, politicians, managers, teachers and social workers are all examples of this style, as they typically learn best and enjoy working with other people.

This is one I definitely want to work on more…while I’m not the best at reading people (understanding their motives) I am pretty fluent at identifying (and articulating) another person’s thoughts or feelings, which helps me A LOT in relationships, and I want to develop here more…

Intra-personal Intelligence

african american child thinking“This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. People with intra-personal intelligence are intuitive and typically introverted. They’re skillful at deciphering their own feelings and motivations: this refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what your strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes you unique and being able to predict your own reactions and emotions…” ~ MI Theory on Wikipedia

This here’s my other forte…the one I enjoy most and get the most nourishment from. It’s responsible for me being able to create my own goals, know my own unique path in life (like starting this blog for instance), and not be so much of a follower who’s life is dictated by the values and opinions of those around him.

I found a dope video on introversion last night from a Youtube channel called “Keep It All Natural” called “The Introvert Advantage” (based on a book of the same title). Knowledge this:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Listen particularly to the section at 5:05, where he describes what it was like in school as a child being pressured away from his natural style…how he was made to think something was wrong with him for having a unique gift.

“It’s coming from within myself…I feel like extroverts should learn to embrace introvert qualities just as much as we introverts are expected to take on extrovert qualities. If that were the case, you’d find a lot more people who were happy and achieving their goals.” ~ Keep It All Natural (Youtube Channel)

(That makes 7, but they’ve also recently added two other styles to MI Theory: Naturalistic, or “intelligence with nature,” and Existential, or “intelligence with spiritual ideas,” basically. See the wiki for more.)

So what are your thoughts? Which styles are yours, and how can you tell??? Leave me a comment below letting me know what you think…

african american child talking


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