The Theory Behind Multiple Intelligences

by | Sep 5, 2015 | Fabulous Mind Tools | 0 comments

What is intelligence?

Is it something we measure only in terms of IQ? Or is there more to intelligences than meets the eye?

Around 10 years ago, Howard Gardner developed the model of multiple intelligences providing yet another ‘eureka’moment for me. When I found Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligence I was suddenly able to appreciate how intelligence can be applied in a variety of ways that do not conform to the traditional IQ measures.

Gardner is widely criticized for his theory, some suggest that he is labeling a ‘talent’ as intelligence and some suggest his theory is too intuitively based and needs more empirical support. Find out more about Gardner and the ongoing debate about his theory.

I suspect you are intelligent enough to decide for yourself if you like his ideas!

The intelligences as defined by Gardner:

Bodily-Kinesthetic

This intelligence has to do with movement and doing. People here excel at physical activities such as sports or dance and often prefer activities which require movement. Careers which suit those with this intelligence include athletes, dancers, actors, surgeons, comedians and builders.

Interpersonal

This area has to do with interaction with others. People in this category are usually extroverts and are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include politicians, managers, counselors, teachers and social workers.

Verbal-Linguistic

This intelligence has to do with words, spoken or written. People with verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and dates. They are often skilled at explaining, teaching and /or persuasive speaking.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers,journalists, politicians and teachers.

Logical-Mathematical

This area has to do with logic, abstractions, inductive and deductive reasoning, and numbers. While it is often assumed that those with this intelligence naturally excel in mathematics, chess, computer programming and other logical or numerical activities, a more accurate definition places emphasis less on traditional mathematical ability and more reasoning capabilities, abstract pattern recognition, scientific thinking and investigation, and the ability to perform complex calculations.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, mathematicians, engineers,
doctors and economists.

Naturalistic

This area has to do with nature, nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. This is the eighth and newest of the intelligences, added to the theory in 1999, and is not as widely accepted as the original seven. This type of intelligence was not part of Gardner’s original theory of Multiple Intelligences. Those with it are said to have greater sensitivity to nature and their place within it, the ability to nurture and grow things, and greater ease in caring for, taming and interacting with animals. The theory behind this intelligence is often criticized, as it is seen by many as not indicative of intelligence but rather an interest.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners and farmers.

Intrapersonal

This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. Those who are strongest in this intelligence prefer to work alone. They are usually highly self-aware and capable of understanding their own emotions, goals and motivations. They often have an affinity for pursuits such as philosophy. They learn best when allowed to concentrate on the subject by themselves for those with this intelligence include philosophers, psychologists, theologians, writers and scientists.

Spatial

This intelligence has to do with vision and spatial judgment. People with visual-spatial intelligence are typically very good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects. They have a strong visual memory and are often artistically inclined. Those with visual-spatial intelligence also generally have a very good sense of direction and may also have very good hand-eye coordination, although this is normally seen as a characteristic of the bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include airline pilots, mariners, engineers, and architects.

Musical

This intelligence has to do with rhythm, music, and hearing. Those who have musical-rhythmic intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. They are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Careers that suit this intelligence include singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, musicians and composers.

….And those are the intelligences as Gardner sees it.

So what do you think? Where are your intelligences? Is there such a thing as multiple intelligence? How are you intelligent?