Fil Salustri's Design Site

Site Tools


On Intelligence

General notes and information about intelligence, especially as it can affect designing and education.

Types of Intelligence

“Contrary to typical classifications, [Howard]- Gardner judges intelligence to entail 'much more than IQ because a high IQ in the absence of productivity does not equate to intelligence.'” [Gil01]

I disagree. I think it's important to separate intelligence from the drive to use it.

Gardner proposes seven kinds of intelligence.

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to detect patterns, think logically, reason deductively and carry out mathematical operations.
  • Linguistic intelligence involves the mastery of spoken and written language to express oneself or remember things.
    • These first two forms of intelligence are typically the abilities that contribute to strong performance in traditional school environments and to producing high scores on most IQ measures or tests of achievement.
  • Spatial intelligence involves the potential for recognizing and manipulating the patterns of both wide spaces such as those negotiated by pilots or navigators, and confined spaces such as those encountered by sculptors, architects or championship chess players.
  • Musical intelligence consists of the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, rhythms, and patterns and to use them for performance or composition.
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence involves the use of parts of the body or the whole body to solve problems or create products. Athletes, dancers, surgeons and craftspeople are likely to have highly developed capacity in this area.
  • Interpersonal intelligence indicates a person's ability to recognize the intentions, feelings and motivations of others. People who possess and develop this quality are likely to work well with others and may choose fields like sales, teaching, counseling or politics in order to use them.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence is described as the ability to understand oneself and use that information to regulate one's own life.

Three other kinds were proposed in 1998: naturalist intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and existential intelligence.

  • A person with naturalist intelligence demonstrates expertise in recognition and classification of the numerous species – the flora and fauna – of her or his environment.
  • Gardner is comfortable with declaring that a Naturalist intelligence meets the criteria he set forth, however he is less sure about how to define and incorporate Spiritual and Existential intelligences.
These definitions – and the definition of naturalist intelligence most of all – seem to dwell on a natural affinity to things external to the self. This suggests to me that intelligence may be about connection to the other.

See Also


[Gil01]. L. Gilman. 2001. The theory of multiple intelligences online document, Indiana University, accessed 1 July 2005 (link)
research/on_intelligence.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)