How smart are you? Find out what science says

How intelligent are you, really?



Being referred to as “intelligent” is probably one of the best compliments you can hear. It is because intelligent people are given a lot of respect and admiration.

However, there is also a great deal of pressure put upon you since you are expected to be excellent at everything. When you commit even the slightest mistake, there is the risk of being criticized.

For example, a child who has high grades in school is considered intelligent because of outstanding performance. This is because people think being intelligent as having a lot of useful knowledge and skills and being able to apply such knowledge and skills.

Cattel-Horn theory

According to Cattell-Horn intelligence theory, an individual’s overall intelligence is a result of different skills and abilities mixing and interacting together. They categorized it into two types:

Fluid intelligence

Fluid intelligence is the ability to think abstractly, reason, identify patterns, solve problems, and discern relationships. This type of intelligence depends mainly on one’s native ability and is not something that can be obtained through education or exposure to various environmental factors.

This type of intelligence is innate in you and is often used when you are coming up with strategies to solve a particular problem like solving puzzles. Most people with “street smarts”, have high fluid intelligence. Another way to identify this type of intelligence is its flexibility and adaptability wherein it can be applied in different ways, depending on the situation.

Crystallized intelligence

This type of intelligence is the opposite of fluid intelligence.

It refers to the knowledge and skills that are obtained through education, learning, and experience and because of this, crystallized intelligence can increase. A perfect example is the vocabulary and mathematical knowledge. As you go to school every year, your vocabulary and math knowledge increase until your skills crystallize.

Howard Gardner’s theory of intelligence

According to Howard Gardner, traditional psychometric views of intelligence are too limited. He theorized that all people have different kinds of intelligence in his book Frames of Mind. Originally, Gardner proposed that there are eight intelligence but suggested that there is an additional “existentialist intelligence.”

In order to capture the full potential of a person, Gardner theorized that people have many kinds of intelligence includng musical, interpersonal, spatial-visual, and linguistic intelligence. A person can be particularly very strong in a specific area like musical intelligence but he or she could also possess verbal and mathematical intelligence.

“While we may continue to use the words smart and stupid, and while IQ tests may persist for certain purposes, the monopoly of those who believe in a single general intelligence has come to an end. Brain scientists and geneticists are documenting the incredible differentiation of human capacities, computer programmers are creating systems that are intelligent in different ways, and educators are freshly acknowledging that their students have distinctive strengths and weaknesses.” – Howard Gardner

To know how smart are you, here are Gardner’s 9 types of intelligence:

1. Logical-mathematical intelligence

This type of intelligence refers to superior inductive and deductive reasoning and calculating ability. A person who is logical-mathematical intelligent easily recognize relationships and patterns, demonstrate sequential reasoning skills and generate and use abstract thoughts.

They also find it very easy to spot trends and patterns and understand relationships. These people are attracted to logic puzzles, experiments, strategy games, and arithmetic problems.

Potential career:

People with this intelligence can become good scientists, mathematicians, computer programmers, engineers and accountants



2. Linguistic intelligence

Linguistic intelligence is the person’s ability to think in words and use these to make oneself understood.



Being linguistically intelligent is more than just knowing two languages. It is about using the words well, both when writing and speaking. People with this intelligence are typically very good at writing stories, memorizing information, and reading. They are also good at debating or giving persuasive speeches.

Potential career:

These people can be good writers, poets, speakers, journalists, lawyers, and teachers.authors,

3. Visual-spatial intelligence

This intelligence refers to having a very active imagination. People with this intelligence will be drawing on their imagination when putting this intelligence to use. Visual-spatial intelligence involves the following capacities:

Mental imagery is the capacity of the person to “see” in his mind’s eye a particular object, even if it is not physically present within his line of sight. It is the ability to draw up an image or picture as a representation of the physical world, even if it is from a past memory or experience.

Spatial reasoning is the person’s capacity to think about objects in 3D and draw generalizations from the limited information available. For example, one can mention a pyramid to a person with visual-spatial intelligence and he will have an image of how a pyramid will look like when viewed from the front or from the top.

Image manipulation is the capacity to view an image and being able to imagine how it will look like when tweaked or altered. They are those who have no issues seeing how an object will turn out when the proposed changes are made.

Artistic skills is a person’s ability and skills in creating fine art. It also involves graphics skills because being visually and spatially intelligent often go hand in hand with creativity.

Potential career:

They are good architects, artists, painters, sculptors, pilots, seafarers, and engineers.

4. Naturalist intelligence

Naturalistic is the most recent addition to Gardner’s theory. These are individuals who are interested in nurturing, exploring the environment, and learning about other species. They are able to “read” and understand nature which include all the living things in and on it. If you have the sensitivity for all living and non-living elements, it makes you “nature-smart”.

Potential career:

People with this intelligence are good biologists, conservationists, gardeners, and farmers.

5. Musical intelligence

People who have strong musical intelligence are good at thinking in music. It includes understanding patterns, rhythms, and sounds. They are characterized by having a strong appreciation for music and are great in musical composition and performance.

Potential career:

These people find their niche as musicians, composers, singers, music teachers, composers, conductors, sound mixers and sound engineers.

6. Existential intelligence

People who are “existentialist” have no problem tackling existentialism issues and questions. They love anything about human existence.

You have high existential intelligence if you ask serious questions like “why do we live?”, “why do we die?”, and “what happens to us after death?” combined with a passion to pursue the answers to these questions.

Potential career:

These people are good in psychology and theology.

7. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

People who have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are said to be good at body movement, performing actions, and physical control because of their excellent hand-eye coordination and dexterity.



Most of the time, they are sportsmen. This intelligence also refers to your physical skills, and how you are able to use your physicality to manipulate objects.

The following are the characteristics of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence:

– you know what you are capable of physically
– you are good at body movements like dancing and sports
– you are good with your hands like handling different tools and machines
– you like creating something with your hands
– you remember by doing, rather than hearing or seeing

Potential career:

People who possess bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are great athletes, dancers, acrobats, craftsmen, surgeons, and stage performers.

8. Interpersonal intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is also known as emotional intelligence. It refers to a person’s ability to sense other people’s feelings, as well as read their motives. When you are intelligent in this area, you possess good to very good communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal.

Here are the characteristics of people having high interpersonal intelligence:

– you can spot distinctions or differences among people. For example, you easily recognize people you know even in a large crowd.
– you sense the moods and temperament of other people
– you can see situations from different perspectives

Potential career:

People with high interpersonal intelligence can be great teachers, social workers, actors, psychologists, philosophers, counselors, salesperson, and politicians.

9. Intrapersonal intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence is characterized by self-awareness wherein you truly understand yourself – your feelings wants and needs.

You have high intrapersonal intelligence if you:

– are fully aware of what you want and you take action to plan and directing your life, without others telling you what to do
– are shy, introverted and have the constant need for self-reflection
– are good at analyzing your strengths and weaknesses

Potential career:

These people are those who are good theorists, scientists, writers, spiritual leaders, psychologists, guidance counselors, and even philosophers.

As Gardner states, “When one has a thorough understanding of a topic, one can typically think of it in several ways.”

According to Edutopia, everyone has all of the nine types of intelligence but in varying aptitude. For example, a person may score higher in linguistic and musical intelligence but score lower in mathematical and kinesthetic intelligence.

Given the types of intelligence above, it is safe to say that we are all intelligent. Have you found the type of intelligence that you possess in greatest abundance?


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