Thursday, 21 June 2012


A lot of the times people think of intelligence in one way, the logical and linear form of intelligence that we are trained and taught to emulate in school and measured in IQ tests. But intelligence is a lot more complex than that as demonstrated by autistic geniuses as well as some dyslexic ones. One of the pioneers in multiple intelligences is Dr Howard Gardner, a professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has identified nine different types of intelligence than can assist in our better understanding of who we are and how we function.

His work is applied in education to ensure that children with the different types of intelligence are not excluded from the learning process and are allowed to grow within their cognitive path. Multiple Intelligence (MI) allows parents and teachers an opportunity to understand and teach their children in multiple ways. This increases the chances of success for a child. These intelligences are not mutually exclusive and an individual can possess any combination of them.

  • Linguistic intelligence (Word Smart) involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. People with linguistic intelligence have the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings.  It allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language.  It is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, lawyers, and effective public speakers.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence (Number / Reasoning Smart) consists of the capacity to analyse problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. It entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. People with logical-mathematical intelligence have the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations.  It enables them to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. This type of intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives.  Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships.  They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.

  • Musical intelligence (Musical Smart) involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. It runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence. People with musical intelligence have the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone.  This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners.  Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves.  They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.

  • Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence (Body Smart) entails the potential of using one's whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Here mental and physical activities are seen as related. People with bodily kinaesthetic intelligence have the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills.  This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union.  Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinaesthetic intelligence.

  • Spatial intelligence (Picture Smart) involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas. It is the ability to think in three dimensions.  Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination.  Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.

  • Interpersonal intelligence (People Smart) is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence. People with interpersonal intelligence have the ability to understand and interact effectively with others.  It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence.  Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.

  • Intrapersonal intelligence (Self Smart) entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. It involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives. People with intra-personal intelligence have the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directing one’s life.  It involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition.  It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.  These young adults may be shy.  They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.

  • Naturalist intelligence (Nature Smart) enables human beings to recognize, categorize and draw upon certain features of the environment. It combines a description of the core ability with a characterization of the role that many cultures value. People with naturalist intelligence have the ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.  It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.

  • Existential intelligence (Humanity Smart) is concerned with 'ultimate issues'. It is the sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.
For more information about Dr Gardner and his work, you can visit his site here.
If you are interested in finding out where your strengths lie, take a quick MI Assessment here.

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