• Theory Of Multiple Intelligences
  • Theory of multiple intelligences

    The theory of multiple intelligences was proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 to more accurately define the concept of intelligence and to address the question whether methods which claim to measure intelligence (or aspects thereof) are truly scientific.

    Traditionally, schools have emphasized the development of logical intelligence and linguistic intelligence (mainly reading and writing). While many students function well in this environment, there are those who do not. Gardner's theory argues that students will be better served by a broader vision of education, wherein teachers use different methodologies, exercises and activities to reach all students, not just those who excel at linguistic and logical intelligence.

    Gardner's theory argues that intelligence, particularly as it is traditionally defined, does not sufficiently encompass the wide variety of abilities humans display. In his conception, a child who masters multiplication easily is not necessarily more intelligent overall than a child who struggles to do so. The second child may be stronger in another kind of intelligence and therefore 1) may best learn the given material through a different approach, 2) may excel in a field outside of mathematics, or 3) may even be looking at the multiplication process at a fundamentally deeper level, which can result in a seeming slowness that hides a mathematical intelligence that is potentially higher than that of a child who easily memorizes the multiplication table.

    Gardner's categories of intelligence

    The categories of intelligence proposed by Gardner (1983) are the following:


    This area has to do with bodily movement and physiology. In theory, people who have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence should learn better by involving muscular movement, i.e. getting up and moving around into the learning experience, and are generally good at physical activities such as sports or dance. They may enjoy acting or performing, and in general they are good at building and making things. They often learn best by doing something physically, rather than reading or hearing about it. Those with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence seem to use what might be termed muscle memory - they remember things through their body such as verbal memory or images.

    Careers that suit those with this intelligence include athletes, dancers,musicians, actors, surgeons, doctors, builders, police officers, and soldiers. Although these careers can be duplicated through virtual simulation they will not produce the actual physical learning that is needed in this intelligence.


    This area has to do with interaction with others. In theory, people who have a high interpersonal intelligence tend to be extroverts, 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. They communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They typically learn best by working with others and often enjoy discussion and debate.

    Careers that suit those with this intelligence include sales, politicians, managers, teachers, and social workers.


    This area has to do with words, spoken or written. People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and discussion and debate. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.

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


    This area has to do with logic, abstractions, 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 on traditional mathematical ability and more reasoning capabilities, abstract patterns of recognition, scientific thinking and investigation, and the ability to perform complex calculations. It correlates strongly with traditional concepts of "intelligence" or IQ.

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


    This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. People with intrapersonal intelligence are intuitive and typically introverted. They are skillful at deciphering their own feelings and motivations. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what are your strengths/ weaknesses, what makes you unique, can you predict your own reactions/ emotions.

    Careers which suit those with this intelligence include philosophers, psychologists, theologians and writers.


    This area has to do with vision and spatial judgment. People with strong visual-spatial intelligence are typically very good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects. Those with strong spatial intelligence are often proficient at solving puzzles. 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-kinesthetic intelligence.

    There appears to be a high correlation between spatial and mathematical abilities, which seems to indicate that these two intelligences are not independent. Since solving a mathematical problem involves manipulating symbols and numbers, spatial intelligence is involved.

    Careers that suit those with this intelligence include artists, engineers, and architects.


    This area has to do with rhythm, music, and hearing. Those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. They normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Since there is a strong auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may learn best via lecture. In addition, they will often use songs or rhythms to learn and memorize information, and may work best with music playing in the background.

    Careers that suit those with this intelligence include instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, orators, writers (to a certain extent) and composers.


    This area has to do with nature, nurturing and relating information to one's natural surroundings. This type of intelligence was not part of Gardner's original theory of Multiple Intelligences, but was added to the theory in 1997. 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. They may also be able to discern changes in weather or similar fluctuations in their natural surroundings. They are also good at recognizing and classifying different species. They must connect a new experience with prior knowledge to truly learn something new.

    "Naturalists" learn best when the subject involves collecting and analyzing, or is closely related to something prominent in nature; they also don't enjoy learning unfamiliar or seemingly useless subjects with little or no connections to nature. It is advised that naturalistic learners would learn more through being outside or in a kinesthetic way.

    The theory behind this intelligence is often criticized, much like the spiritual or existential intelligence (see below), as it is seen by many as not indicative of an intelligence but rather an interest. However, it remains an indispensable intelligence for humans who live almost entirely from nature such as some native populations.

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

     At Lexicon We have developed a curriculum to enhance all the above intelligences.

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