What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

Authored by Morgan Barnhart in Self Improvement 
Published on 09-25-2009

Intrapersonal intelligence was one theory created by Howard Gardner, a psychologist who believed that people have different types of intelligence. Some may be strong in one type of intelligence while others may be weaker in the same type. Mr. Gardner’s research is frowned upon in the psychology field because they feel it states that people only have one type of intellect. Though Mr. Gardner only states that people favor one intellect over the other, not that they only have one intellect.

To explain intrapersonal intelligence, we must first look at the opposite which is interpersonal intelligence. Interpersonal intelligence refers to people who are extraordinary at creating relationships. We’ve all met them, the person in school, work or at home who have no trouble getting along with people and strike up a conversation out of nowhere. These types of individuals are also called extroverts.

Intrapersonal intelligence refers to people who prefer to be alone. These are the ones who usually sit by themselves at a party and watch others interact and have fun. These people usually have very high self awareness where they’re able to process clear goals for the future. These types of individuals are also called introverts.

Individuals who possess intrapersonal intelligence usually prefer to work alone on projects. Though sometimes they also require extra care or attention because of their perfectionism. Autism closely resembles this type of behavior since they usually prefer to be recluse and have a hard time socializing. However, there are individuals who experience intrapersonal intelligence who have not been diagnosed with autism or any other learning disability.

Intrapersonal intelligence isn’t just about wanting to be alone and not interact with others, it mostly deals with self-reflection. There’s no doubt that being self-aware is an important trait to have. Many individuals lack the ability to self-reflect and solidify goals which can contribute to making poor decisions. Individuals with intrapersonal intelligence can spend days reflecting on their goals and their self, they can even obsess over it. If they had no other objections in life, such as going to work or any other activities, then they would probably never leave their home.

There’s no right or wrong way to be. Each individual is able to tap into these types of intelligence at any time. Though according to Mr. Gardner’s theory, we all favor one type of intelligence over the other. If we’re interpersonal then it’s harder for us to sit in the corner and be silent while simply watching the others have fun. If we’re intrapersonal, it may take a few pushes for us to socialize and it may be severely uncomfortable at first.

Everyone is capable of tapping into different types of intellect. There are times when people with intrapersonal intellect feel like taking it upon themselves to shake hands with a complete stranger. There are times when an interpersonal individual feels like just being alone and contemplating life. No matter what type of intellect you favor, human beings will always be able to tap any intellect.


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