It takes all sorts of intelligence to make a world

Illustration by Darian Maroney

In our technology-obsessed society, people may have a hard time considering themselves intelligent if they don’t have an affinity for math or science.

But in reality, the definition of intelligence is “a capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity.”

Nowhere in this definition does it specify which kind of mental activity.

There are actually a lot of different types of intelligence. Nine, to be specific:

1. Naturalistic — the animal lovers with the green thumbs

This type of intelligence includes a particular sensitivity to understanding and differentiating things in the natural world like plants, animals, clouds, rock configurations, etc.

2. Musical — music smarts

This person that can discern pitches, rhythms and tones that others cannot as easily hear. People with this type of intelligence can recognize, create, reproduce and reflect on aspects of music.

3. Logical/Mathematical — an affinity for numbers and reasoning

People with this type of intelligence are great at seeing patterns, categories and relationships in symbolic thought.This also includes an ability to calculate and quantify mathematical operations.

4. Existential — the deep thinkers

These people can tackle those deep questions about human existence. How did we get here? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Just make sure not to go into an existential crisis.

5. Interpersonal — the people person (also known as my area of weakness)

Includes an ability to understand and interact effectively with others using verbal and nonverbal communication. People with this type of intelligence are particularly sensitive to moods of others.

6. Intrapersonal — knowing the self

Someone with this kind of intelligence is aware of what they think and feel, with a great understanding of why they do what they do. People with this type of intelligence may also be shy, as they are frequently in their heads and tend to be self-motivated.

7. Bodily-kinesthetic — the ones that achieve amazing physical feats

Includes the ability to perfect skills through the communication of the mind and body and develop a specialized sense of timing and accuracy. This not only includes athletes, but also dancers and surgeons.

8. Linguistic — the ones who could use words as a weapon

The journalists, the novelists, the public speakers. They use words and language to express complex meaning and ideas. They also might enjoy writing, reading, telling stories and/or doing crosswords.

9. Spatial — those that think and create in three-dimensional pictures

Usually includes abilities like spatial reasoning, image manipulation, artistic skills and an active imagination. Think sailors, pilots and painters.

Everyone has a particular affinity. And it’s likely a person has more than just one of these.

For me? I usually rank highest on intrapersonal and linguistic intelligence.

What’s sad is that sometimes people don’t feel like they are intelligent because their specialty is not in math or science.

But just because someone’s specialty isn’t measured by a test, doesn’t mean that it is not important to society, or that they aren’t intelligent.

Allison Galbreath can be reached at [email protected] or @agalbreath19 on twitter.