Two Types of Intelligence: Analytical v.s. Abstract

There are many types of intelligence that exist in this world. There’s social intelligence and academic intelligence, but I want to focus on two I am intimately familiar with; analytical and abstract intelligence.

Analytical Intelligence

We’ve all heard the saying “Think outside the box”. Well, analytical intelligence is the exact opposite of that. Analytical people will look inside the box, describe and break down every thing inside the boxes. They may even get lost in the boxes inside the boxes! This type of intelligence is great for understanding the nuances of specific objects. It’s like taking a magnifying glass and notating all the like cracks, crevices and colors. This lends well to math and science. The problem with this intelligence is that getting lost in the details is all too easy.

Abstract Intelligence

Abstract intelligence is the counterpart to analysis. Theses are the ones who “think outside of the box” and realize that all ideas are in one big box with infinite smaller boxes. Stated simply, abstraction is the act of generalization; stripping away the specifics and focusing on the similarities. For instance, “Color” is an abstraction of the specific colors “Blue” and “Orange” or “Sport” is an abstraction of the specific sports “Soccer” and “Baseball”. An abstraction is, like a big box that you fit other smaller boxes in to connect them together.  This lends well to poetry because you can abstract two unrelated words like, “bullet” and “shark”, into a simile such as “The shark swam like a speeding bullet”.  Abstract minded people usually are good at creative writing, art and music. The problem with abstract thought is that if the relation between the two ideas is too loose communicating the thought could be disastrous.

Final Thoughts

No intelligence is better than the other. I’d say analytical intelligence tends to be more practical, but abstract intelligence tends to be more beautiful. Although, in practice we use both simultaneously, there tends to be a preference for analytical over abstract. There’s nothing wrong wrong with this but without understanding the balance we miss one half of the equation that makes subjects like math interesting. Math is the analysis of an abstract concept called numbers. While writing composition classes are the abstractions of multiple pieces of writing. By framing school work or problems in this way it could help with finding solutions. If you know all the details and are still stuck, try to find a loosely similar situations that you relate to and try to tackle it that way (analytical to abstract). Or if you are confused on a dense concept, try to ground the idea in a metaphor, by relating the parts you do understand to something familiar. (abstract to analytical).

What do you think? Leave a comment. Thanks for reading.

Check out the new song I composed for the game I’m working on.


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