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The 9 Types of Intelligence

7. Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to be self-aware and explore emotions, goals and motivations. This perspective on the human condition is used by writers, philosophers, psychologists, and theologians. To improve your intrapersonal intelligence, “know thyself”—write in a journal, meditate, try the personality tests mentioned above.

8. Individuals with green thumbs and “horse whisperers” have naturalistic intelligence. They are sensitive to nature and may easily recognize and classify species. To get more naturalistic intelligence, expose yourself to the great outdoors: plant a seed, volunteer at an animal shelter, take a walk with a naturalist at the park, read about classifications of animals (kids’ books can be a great place to start).

9. Spiritual or existential intelligence fits all Dr. Gardner’s criteria except for association with a specific brain specialization—though this intelligence could be a whole-brain function. Those with this ability explore questions about life, death, and what lies beyond the subjective perspective. Prayer and meditation increase whole-brain communication and lessen the blood flow to the parietal lobes (which give a subjective sense of time and space). Explore what lies beyond through inquiry, reading, or talking with others.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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10:00PM PST on Nov 7, 2014


3:53AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

We anteaters are the greatest LINGUISTS among the animals!

5:31AM PDT on May 27, 2014

interesting thank you

9:47PM PDT on May 21, 2014

Good article.

2:53PM PDT on May 21, 2014


10:58AM PDT on May 21, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

10:19AM PDT on May 20, 2014

My favorite kind of intelligence? Common sense. It seems to be lacking in so many these days.

6:39AM PDT on May 19, 2014

very interesting. I am definetly of the spatial type. But I am really bad at dealing with people.

11:29PM PDT on May 18, 2014

I think there are many more than nine.

8:34PM PDT on May 14, 2014

Thank you!

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