Introducing the 3 Centres of Intelligence

By: Alicia Ng

As a powerful and ancient system that provides insights into human behaviour, motivations, and relationships, the Enneagram is divided into three Centres Of Intelligence, each representing a distinct way or world lens from which individuals receive and process information.

Each centre comprises of 3 Enneagram types with 3 distinct core emotions: Anger for the Body Types; Sadness for the Heart Types; Fear for the Head Types. However, the source of the emotion is rooted in a different place, and expressed quite differently:


The Body or Instinctive Centre comprises types Eight, Nine, and One. Individuals in this centre are grounded in their physical bodies and respond to the world through instinct or gut feelings.

Eights (The Challenger) have easy access to Anger and turn it outwards – they are assertive, seek control and have no qualms about meeting obstacles head-on.

Nines (The Peacemaker) are uncomfortable with their Anger – they prioritise harmony, avoid conflict and often fall asleep to their own needs.

Ones (The Reformer) struggle with their Anger and turn it inwards – they strive for perfection, morality and are often driven by the need to do the right thing.


The Heart or Feeling Centre includes types Two, Three, and Four. They are driven by emotions and interpersonal connections.

Twos (The Giver) are motivated by the desire to be loved and their Sadness is externalised – they focus on forging connections and prioritise the needs of others, but their sadness comes from the belief that they are loved for what they give, rather than who they are.

Threes (The Achiever) focus on success and accomplishments but are often not n touch with their Sadness – they seek validation from others but may feel deep down that they are loved more for their achievements than for themselves.

Fours (The Individualist) experience a range of deep emotions and their Sadness is turned inwards – they find meaning in creating a unique identity but often see themselves as deficient when compared to others.


The Head or Thinking Centre encompasses types Five, Six, and Seven. These types predominantly process information through their thoughts and mental faculties.

Fives (The Investigator) turn their Fear inwards – they tend to retreat into their minds, seeking knowledge and putting up boundaries to guard against a fear of depletion.

Sixes (The Loyalist) often experience anxiety but cope with their Fear by making contingency plans and preparing for the worst.

Sevens (The Enthusiast) value their freedom the most and their Fear is projected outwards – they plan for future possibilities, seek stimulation and ensure they retain as many options as possible.

A crucial aspect of the Enneagram is how we can become more whole and balanced by engaging with all 3 centres. When we become aware of our dominant centre, we gain valuable insight into the core emotion that drives and motivates our behaviour. Understanding these dynamics can help us navigate challenges more effectively through empathy for self and others, as we take a kinder and more balanced approach to life.

Exploring the Enneagram’s Three Centres Of Intelligence thus offers a supplementary roadmap for self-discovery and personal development. By understanding the core emotion of each centre and their preferred way of navigating the world, we can learn to become more Conscious beings. Together with the wisdom of the Enneagram and its various paths for growth, we can fully embrace our authentic selves, cultivate more meaningful relationships, and find greater inner peace within ourselves and in our lives.

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