Gardner's Theory on the Multiple Types of Intelligences

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Gardner's Theory on the Multiple Types of Intelligences

                                                                                                Howard Gardner (right) together with other psychologists from Harvard University / Photo by Wikimedia Commons


Howard Gardner, a cognitive psychologist from Harvard University has demonstrated that book smart is not the only kind of smart.

People have different skills and talents that make them qualified to be viewed as intelligent.

Based on what says, after he became the proponent of the Theory of Multiple Intelligence, people began to be aware that IQ tests are not enough to measure how smart and capable a person is.

According to Britannica, Gardner says there are eight types of intelligence which he first presented in his book Frames of Mind, published in 1983.

He also states in an Interview with Brain World that he developed this theory as an alternative to unitary intelligence which is common in Psychology.

In the succeeding segments of this paper, these notable skills of each kind of intelligence will be illustrated.


8 Types of Intelligence

In and the website of the Council for European Canadians, Ricardo Duchesne summarize and describe the intelligence types. These are:



1. Logical-mathematical Intelligence

People who have logical-mathematical intelligence are also known as people who are number smart.

Individuals who are number smart can comprehend the abstract, are good at reasoning and analyzing and easily understand concepts related to science and math.

These people are naturals at solving numerical and scientific problems.


2. Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence

People who are intelligent linguistically are also identified in simpler terms as word smart.

They are gifted at reading, writing, comprehending as well as have the ability to easily learn a language and use it for communication.

Vocabulary is at the core of these word smart individuals who are talented at communicating whether in verbal or written form.  


3. Spatial Intelligence

People who have spatial or visual intelligence are also considered picture smart.

Picture smart individuals have the ability to make sense of patterns, drawings, diagrams, and maps.

They are able to organize space well and have a great sense of direction.

These individuals are also characterized as those who have great visual memory and are capable of manipulating objects as well as visualizing images and space.


4. Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence

Individuals who are talented kinesthetically are also labeled as body smart.

They are keen on learning by doing, are agile and are great at anything that relates to bodily movement.

These individuals thrive when doing physical activities such as sports and dancing.


5. Musical Intelligence

Musically intelligent individuals are also known as those which are music smart.

They are gifted with the ability to be able to understand music, playing instruments, composing music, singing and being able to instantly pick up a tune.

People who are great at music have an amazing sense of rhythm and hearing.


6. Interpersonal Intelligence

Individuals who have interpersonal intelligence are otherwise known as people smart.

These people are gifted with activities that involve socializing such as resolving conflicts, interacting with others freely, organizing and hosting events as well as understanding between people.

They are also able to detect a person’s mood and intentions.


7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

People who have this kind of intelligence are also identified as individuals who are self smart.

These people are great at being self aware, being connected to themselves and knowing their own motivations, thinking patterns as well as how they act and feel in most circumstances.

As part of this intelligence, they can also determine their own desires, needs, and limits.


8. Naturalist Intelligence

People who have the naturalist type of intelligence also fall under the category of being nature smart.

They are gifted with the skills of being sensitive toward plants and animals, having the ability to understand nature and ecology as well as have the capacity to appreciate the beauty, love and care for both pets and street animals alike.

These individuals are drawn to anything that to natural habitats and the creatures that are in it.


Referring again to the interview conducted by Brain World, Gardner states that his multiple intelligence theory is being applied in the educational systems of 15 countries including Japan, Australia, and China.

This shows that more people around the world are embracing the idea that individuals should not be confined to having their smartness dictated by the results of standardized tests and the memorize-regurgitate system of education.

Instead of only being concerned with the results of these tests, educators should also aspire to develop their students who all have different types of intelligence. They should find more ways to encourage the growth of their abilities and not be narrow-minded.

The classroom approach should not be the only style of teaching. Teachers should be able to adapt a method of teaching that gets students of different intelligence types more involved and recognized.

In closing, everyone should be open to the idea that academics are not the sole yardstick of intelligence. Since each individual has a unique skill set and an assortment of talents, they too should be acknowledged.


                                                                                                 Musical Intelligence, students playing electric keyboard / Photo by Getty Images




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