So, You Suck At School? Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t Smart: The 7 Types Of Intelligence

Pascal Janssen
Pascal Janssen

Growing up, I was the kid having wet dreams about extra credit. I lived for that shit. I was salivating over when the next test day would be, and eagerly awaited each report card that would, inevitably, end up beaming at everyone from its cozy spot on the refrigerator.

So, when friends of mine complained about school, I couldn’t fully relate. (Made me real popular, as you can imagine.) One of my good friends said I couldn’t understand because I was smart. And she just wasn’t. “Things were easy for me,” she said. And I guess when kids are assessed with numbers and letters, and how well they do in school seems solely equated with intelligence, it makes sense to how she got there.

Yes, I was good at school. But that didn’t mean I was more intelligent than my friend. It just meant we processed things differently, that my areas of strength weren’t hers, and vice versa. Professor and psychologist, Howard Gardner writes about this in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In it, Gardner proposes there are actually seven types of intelligence.

1. Musical–rhythmic

You know those people who seem naturally inclined to musical instruments? It’s as if they pick up something new and just BAM — suddenly seem to have a grasp on the damn thing. Hell, even someone who can whistle a tune can be recognized as having musical-rhythmic intelligence.

Examples: composers, musicians, vocalists, conductors, etc.

2. Visual-spatial

Artists! Seriously, have you ever thought about how god damn brilliant you’ve got to be to sculpt the statue of David? Those individuals with visual-spatial intelligence have the ability to visualize the world and then recreate aspects of their experiences or perceptions.

Examples: architects, engineers, graphic designers, cartographers, sculptors, etc.

3. Verbal-linguistic

People who excel in reading, writing, and comprehension. They also have highly developed auditory skills.

Examples: editors, speakers, poets, writers, translators, journalists, etc.

4. Logical-mathmatetical

These are people with great analytical skills, and scientific reasoning and deduction. They are absolute bosses when it comes to math, (a skill I’ll forever be jealous of).

Examples: analysts, arbitrators, bankers, negotiators, researchers, scientists, statisticians, etc.

5. Bodily-kinesthetic

As an incredibly clumsy person, I’m constantly in awe of people who have control over their bodies. People with hand-eye coordination and a natural agility are often blessed with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Examples: athletes, physical therapists, nurses, anthropologists, etc.

6. Interpersonal

Those people who are incredibly empathic and able to connect to people around them are thought to be rich in interpersonal intelligence. Have you ever been referred to as a people person? Big change you’re overflowing with this type of intelligence.

Examples: therapists, educators, politicians, sales-people, etc.

7. Intrapersonal

This is someone in touch with their own personal needs, desires, limits. They’re able to self-reflect and change, as necessary to the environment. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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