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9 Types of Intelligence: How to Improve All of Them

Curious about your cognitive strengths? Take our quiz, inspired by Howard Gardner, Ph.D., to uncover your dominant intelligence and areas for improvement.

9 types of intelligence and how to improve them all

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Find out which intelligences are dominant and which you can improve.

This quiz isn't about overall intelligence or personal worth—it's a journey toward self-discovery. Understand your unique abilities and how to maximize them. What's your intelligence type? Find out by answering honest, insightful questions. No right or wrong answers, just authentic insights. Start the quiz now and unravel the fascinating layers of your mind!

Unveiling Howard Gardner's Nine Intelligence Types

The 1980s gave us many wonderful things, and Howard Gardner’s book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences was one of them. It just didn’t sit right with this Harvard psychologist that intelligence is something measured with solving an equation or standardized tests. In the light of this injustice, Gardner concluded that there are nine intelligence types, each of them with its unique manifestations and “smarts.”

Now you are probably excited to discover your Howard Gardner’s type of intelligence. And as enlightening as it might be, it will be even better to work on improving each of them! Because it’s not that we possess only one intelligence kind — we just have them developed at different levels. But developing each of them can make you and your team perform and communicate at work more efficiently, let on your creativity and organizational skills, and at the end, get much better results. So it’s in your power to up your game.

That’s why in this article, we’ll go through each intelligence type and different aspects of intelligence theory. And also, we’ll include some tips on improving intelligence. There may be no quick fix, but there’s one ultimate strategy we’re sure of — the Headway app. It provides fun and easy growth, helping users to make self-development a sustainable habit with different formats that suit their needs best. Especially for businesses that strive for growth, Headway launched a corporate subscription providing means for employees’ development.

Headway App is #1 most downloaded non-fiction book summary app

The Headway app inspires people to get learning that entertains on such topics as Productivity, Happiness. Self-Growth, Business & Career, Leadership, Negotiation, and many more. With Headway for Business, your employees can watch explainers to gain more knowledge in less time, read or listen to 15-minute summaries from the best nonfiction books, get personalized recommendations, and receive curated collections according to their growth preferences.

So let’s get to the strategies for growing each intelligence type fast and efficiently and discover how the Headway app can help!

1. Interpersonal: People-smart

🔹 Social butterflies

🔹 Empathetic

🔹 Highly perceptive

🔹 Negotiators

These people know their way around any conversation. Their charm and ability to pick up the subtlest social cues make them skillful negotiators and also earn an excellent reputation in any circle.

Thus, the two most essential words in increasing interpersonal intelligence are socializing and empathizing. And to do that effectively, make sure to check out the summary of Negotiation Hacks by Simon Rycraft. This bestselling author covers everything you need to know for fruitful communication: from empathy and likeability to time-proven tips.

2. Logical: Number-smart

🔹 Highly rational

🔹 Excellent at math

🔹 Good at finding patterns and causalities

🔹 High problem-solving skills

For these people, the STEM field is their oyster. The math of any complexity comes naturally to them. And cold-blood deduction is their go-to thinking method.

How to develop this superpower? Apart from solving brain teasers from time to time, look into reading _A Mind for Number_s by Barbara Oakley. Even though she is an engineering professor now, she ignored math subjects in school pretty much. But Barbara found ways to retrain her brain, which you can find in her book, and start your journey to enhancing logical intelligence type.

3. Linguistic: Word-smart

🔹 “Walking dictionaries”

🔹 Multilingual

🔹 Eloquent and witty

🔹 Good at writing

You ask them, ‘What’s that word again?’ and they’ll always have an answer. And mostly, in different languages and with an extra pun on top. People with linguistic intelligence know their words and are not afraid to use them.

Want to get your linguistic juices flowing? Then it’s essential to read and write regularly. And to kill two birds with one stone, check out On Writing by Stephen King. One of the most known writers today, King yet again proved his mastery with this title. You’ll get extra handy hacks from its summary on the Headway app for better writing and boost your linguistic intelligence along the way.

4. Musical: Music-smart

🔹 Great sense of rhythm

🔹 Highly sensitive to sound

🔹 Good with instruments and singing

🔹 Can think in music

It’s easy to spot these people: always humming a tune or tapping to some rhythm. However, the musical intelligence type is not just about making music. It can also be about a high appreciation of melodies and enjoying them like others don’t.

For slipping into the world of chords and pitches, Music Theory by Nicolar Carter is your key. Not only is it easy-to-digest and highly informative, but also perfect for any level of music knowledge. And after you’re through with it, your favorite songs will gain a whole new layer of sound.

5. Intrapersonal: Myself-smart

🔹 Very self-aware

🔹 Always self-reflecting

🔹 Mostly introverted

🔹 Empathetic

An intrapersonal intelligence type comes from a deep understanding of your inner world. Such people know what they feel, want, and need, which is a foundation for achieving your goals and following your passions. Moreover, this profound introspection makes them empathy pros.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your intrapersonal intelligence, self-reflection is critical, especially in the form of journaling. Also, it will be eye-opening to read Self-Awareness by Daniel Goleman, Robert Steven Kaplan, and Susan David. As a part of the Harvard Business Review Emotional Intelligence Series, this book is basically an instruction to meet your Self. And that acquaintance is the ultimate one to make.

6. Visual: Picture-smart

🔹 Strong imagination

🔹 High sense of direction

🔹 Very creative

🔹 Often daydreaming

For “picture-smart” people, it’s a no-brainer to visualize anything they think of. A vivid imagination is their main perk, making them creative and artistic.

No matter your occupation, creativity is always a big advantage. Therefore, if you want to improve your visual intelligence, you should turn to The Art of Creative Thinking by John Adair. The author analyzed the lives and approaches of the most prominent “creative thinkers” and gathered the most illuminating insights in his book. So get ready to learn the best from the best.

7. Naturalistic: Nature-smart

🔹 In touch with nature

🔹 Animal lovers

🔹 Apply scientific theories in real life

🔹 Good at gardening/farming

Naturalistic intelligence, what’s that like? Incredibly sensual for sure! Such people are one whole with our Mother Nature and easily discern different animals or plants.

The journey towards cultivating this intelligence type is perhaps the most therapeutic. Spending more time outdoors, gardening, and reading How Not to Kill Your Houseplant by Veronica Peerless before all. This witty and enlightening book tells everything you need for your plants to live and prosper. So say ‘aye’ in favor of increasing naturalistic intelligence!

8. Kinesthetic: Body-smart

🔹 Strong sense of timing

🔹 Good motor control

🔹 Multitaskers

🔹 Mind-body connection

Kinesthetic intelligence is all about feeling your body and truly attuning to it. And not just in an athletic way — people who are great at handmaking also fall under this type.

The first step towards achieving high kinesthetic intelligence is setting up a harmonic connection with your body. That means tuning into its needs, senses, and intricacies. In this respect, The Body Book by Cameron Diaz is a must! Science-based and incredibly well-put, this bestseller provides a guide for building stamina, strength, and great health.

9. Existential: Abstract-smart

🔹 Highly spiritual

🔹 Very considerate

🔹 Deep thinkers

🔹 Asking big questions about life and death

Ah, the philosophers. These people are not to be satisfied with small talk or superficial chitchat. Their mind is always wondering about big questions and sophisticated matters. So if someone were to finally discover the true meaning of life, it’d be one of these folks.

So, how to improve the existential intelligence type? Your way goes through the classics of philosophy. For example, the Headway app has a summary collection just for this occasion — Modern Philosophy Basics to Find Meaning. Ten summaries, fifteen minutes each, and your existential intelligence is up and running.

Are you ready to improve all intelligence types?

And what about giving your team an opportunity to discover different aspects of intelligence theory and improve their intelligence types? That’s what the Headway app’s corporate subscription is perfect for! It lets you and your employees learn more in less time and presents you with thousands of life-changing insights from the world’s top authors. And the best thing is you don’t have to make any sacrifices in your working routine to grow all your Howard Gardner’s types of intelligence effectively. Instead, you can listen to a highly informative 15-min summary or watch explainers during your commutes or coffee breaks.

Nine intelligence types chart

As a business executive Jack Welch said, great leaders love to see people grow. So don’t hesitate to provide your employees with excellent means for growth in a fun and easy format. With the development of each intelligence type, your employees can become more productive, organized, creative, and efficient giving your company even more value and high results.

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