Organisational Change Management Volume 2

6. Different Categories of Intelligence

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. Historically, the IQ test has been used to measure intelligence, but our concept of "intelligence" has broadened in recent times. Howard Gardner (2006) has described intelligence in terms of 9 categories:

i. linguistic- verbal (good with words and language)

ii. logical-mathematical (at ease with logic, abstractions, reasoning and numbers)

iii. spatial (visualizing and mentally manipulating objects, such as arts, architecture, etc)

iv. bodily-kinesthetic (body control, such as dance, sport, etc)

v. musical (to do with rhythm, music and hearing)

vi. interpersonal (relationship/understanding of others, ie social intelligence)

vii. intrapersonal (introspective, self-reflective capacities, awareness, self-understanding, etc)

viii. naturalist (understands the patterns and rhythms of nature)

ix. existential (it allows human capacity to ponder the big questions) (for more detail, see later in this Volume and Volume 3)

. All humans possess a number of relatively autonomous cognitive capabilities. Generally, everyone has at least one dominant category that can be nurtured and strengthened. Furthermore, these different categories do not exist in isolation but interface and interact with one another when completing tasks.

. It has been demonstrated when your full range of intelligences are involved, your learning ability is greatly enhanced. Each type of intelligence represents a different way to explore the subject, and is therefore a different ability to call on when you need to tackle a problem

. When considering intelligence, there 3 critical considerations: intelligence is not fixed; intelligence is simply a set of abilities and skills; effort needs to be put in to use, develop and improve your intelligence

Exploring the 9 Categories of Intelligence

1 Verbal/linguistic dominance

. People who operate effectively in this mode of intelligence have highly developed verbal skills, and often think in words. They do well on written assignments, enjoy reading, and are good at communicating and expressing themselves

2 Logical/mathematical dominance

. People who operate effectively in this mode think in abstractions and handle complex concepts, and they readily see patterns or relationships in ideas. They like to work with numbers and perform mathematical operations, and approach problem-solving exercises with logic and rational thought

3 Visual/spatial dominance

. People who operate effectively in this mode of intelligence think in images, symbols, colours, pictures, patterns and shapes. They like to perform tasks that require "seeing with the mind's eye"- tasks that require them to visualize, imagine, pretend or form images

4 Body/kinesthetic dominance

. People who operate effectively in this mode of intelligence have a strong body awareness and a sharp sense of physical movement. They communicate best through body language, physical gestures, hands-on activities, active demonstrations and performance tasks

5 Musical/rhythmic dominance

. People who operate effectively in this mode of intelligence enjoy music, rhythmic patterns, variations in tones or rhythms and sounds. They enjoy listening to music, composing music, interpreting music, performing to music and learning with music playing in the background

6 Interpersonal dominance

. People who operate effectively in this mode of intelligence thrive on person-to-person interactions and team activities. They are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others and are skilled team members, discussion leaders and peer mediators

7 Intrapersonal dominance

. People in this category prefer to work alone because they are self-reflective, self-motivated and in tune with their own feelings, beliefs, strengths and thought processes. They respond to intrinsic rather than extrinsic rewards and may demonstrate great wisdom and insight when presented with personal challenges and independent-study opportunities

8. Naturalist dominance

. People in this category have the capacity to make discriminations in the natural world: between one plant and another; between one animal and another; among varieties of clouds, rock formations, tidal configurations, etc

9. Existential dominance

. People in this category have capacity to ponder the big questions, such as the meaning of life, spirituality, etc

NB Your Preferred Intelligence is Linked with Your Preferred Performance Style

. Visual/watching ‐ involves colour, brightness, contrast, focus, texture, detail, size, distance, shape, borders, location, movement, orientation, associated/disassociated, perspective, proportion, dimension, singular/plural and shade of colour

Role-playing and doing are not the preferred ways of learning. They prefer to observe and learn from how other people perform. These people perform best away from the manuals and classrooms

. Auditory ‐ elements include location, pitch, tonality, melody, inflection, volume, tempo, rhythm, duration, mono/stereo and resonance

. Kinesthetic/doing (motion and management of space) ‐ quality, intensity, location, movement, direction, speed, duration, temperature, moisture and pressure

People exhibiting this tendency prefer to learn by trial and error. It is best to give them a brief overview of the outcomes you want and then let them perform

. Analysing (understanding a task by taking it apart, examining its elements and reconstructing it piece-by-piece. As every single component of the task is important to them, they crave information. They need to absorb all there is to know about the subject before they begin to feel comfortable with the subject)

They need ample time in the classroom; role-playing and postmortem exercises are important; need to break their performance into components so that they can carefully build it back up; need time to prepare; hate mistakes


"...a person who knows her own mind - how it learns best - is most likely to be able to change the mind effectively..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

(sources: Phil Boas, 1999; Marcus Buckingham, 2005; Stephen Wilkes, 2003; Robert Winston, 2003; Howard Gardner, 2006; Fiona Smith, 2009l)


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