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Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

February 8, 2023

The Theory of multiple intelligences It was devised by the American psychologist Howard Gardner as a counterweight to the paradigm of a unique intelligence.

Gardner proposed that human life requires the development of various types of intelligence. Thus, Gardner does not contradict the scientific definition of intelligence, as the "ability to solve problems or develop valuable assets."

  • Recommended article: "Biography of Howard Gardner"

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner and his collaborators of the prestigious Harvard University They warned that academic intelligence (obtaining qualifications and educational merits, the academic record) is not a decisive factor to know the intelligence of a person.


A good example of this idea is observed in people who, despite obtaining excellent academic qualifications, present important problems to relate to other people or to handle other facets of their life. Gardner and his collaborators could affirm that Stephen Hawking does not possess a greater intelligence than Leo Messi , but each of them has developed a different kind of intelligence.

On the other hand, Howard Gardner points out that there are clear cases in which people have extremely developed cognitive skills, and others very poorly developed: is the case of the savants . An example of a savant was Kim Peek, who, although he generally had little ability to reason, was able to memorize maps and entire books, in almost every detail.


These exceptional cases made Gardner think that intelligence does not exist, but in reality there are many independent intelligences.

Multiple intelligences: 8 types of intelligence

Howard Gardner's research has managed to identify and define eight different types of intelligence . We will know more in detail each of the intelligences proposed by the Theory of Multiple Intelligences of Gardner below.

► Linguistic intelligence

The capacity of master the language and being able to communicate with others is transversal to all cultures. From small we learn to use the mother tongue to communicate effectively.

The linguistic intelligence not only refers to the ability for oral communication, but other forms of communication such as writing, gestures, etc.


Those who better master this ability to communicate have a superior linguistic intelligence. Professions in which this type of intelligence stands out could be politicians, writers, poets, journalists, actors ...

How to improve linguistic intelligence?

If you want to know more about verbal intelligence and how to progress in this area, we invite you to read the following article:

  • "Linguistic intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?"

► Logical-mathematical intelligence

For decades, logical-mathematical intelligence It was considered raw intelligence. It was the main axis of the concept of intelligence, and it was used as a yardstick to detect how intelligent a person was.

As its name suggests, this type of intelligence is linked to the capacity for logical reasoning and solving mathematical problems . The speed to solve this type of problems is the indicator that determines how much logical-mathematical intelligence one has.

The famous IQ test (IQ) are based on this type of intelligence and, to a lesser extent, on linguistic intelligence. The scientists, economists, academics, engineers and mathematicians They usually stand out in this kind of intelligence. Likewise, chess players also require the logical capacity to develop game strategies better than those of their opponent, and in turn anticipate their movements.

Is it possible to improve mathematical logical intelligence?

Of course yes. We explain everything you need to know about this type of intelligence and the keys to improve it here:

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence: what is it and how can we improve it? "

► Spatial intelligence

Also known as visual-spatial intelligence, it is the ability that allows us to Observe the world and objects from different perspectives. In this intelligence the chess players and the professionals of the visual arts (painters, designers, sculptors ...) stand out, as well as the taxi drivers, who must have an exquisite mental map of the cities through which they travel.

People who excel in this type of intelligence usually have capabilities that allow them to devise mental images, draw and detect details, as well as a personal sense for aesthetics. In this intelligence we find painters, photographers, designers, publicists, architects, creatives ...

How can we increase our spatial intelligence?

It is a skill that can be improved. Here you have all the information:

  • "Spatial intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?"

► Musical intelligence

Music is a universal art . All cultures have some type of music, more or less elaborated, which leads Gardner and his collaborators to understand that there is a musical intelligence latent in all people.

Some areas of the brain perform functions linked to the interpretation and composition of music. Like any other kind of intelligence, it can be trained and perfected.

It goes without saying that the most advantaged in this kind of intelligence are those capable of playing instruments, reading and composing musical pieces with ease.

► Body and kinesthetic intelligence

The bodily and motor skills that are required to handle tools or to express certain emotions represent an essential aspect in the development of all cultures of history.

The ability to use tools is considered Kinesthetic body intelligence . On the other hand, there is a follow-up of more intuitive abilities such as the use of body intelligence to express feelings through the body.

Dancers are especially brilliant in this type of intelligence, actors, athletes, and even plastic surgeons and creators , because all of them have to use their physical abilities rationally.

► Intrapersonal intelligence

The Intrapersonal intelligence refers to that intelligence that empowers us to understand and control the internal scope of oneself in what refers to the regulation of emotions and attention focus.

People who excel in intrapersonal intelligence are able to access their feelings and emotions and reflect on these elements . According to Gardner, this intelligence also allows you to delve into your introspection and understand the reasons why one is the way one is.

On the other hand, both knowing how to distance oneself from the situation to de-dramatize events with a negative emotional impact and knowing how to identify one's own thinking biases are very useful tools both to maintain a good level of well-being and to perform better in different aspects of life.

How to improve this type of intelligence?

There are several ways to know yourself better. We have summarized them in this article:

  • "Intrapersonal intelligence: what is it and how can it be improved?

► Interpersonal intelligence

The Interpersonal intelligence It empowers us to be able to notice things from other people beyond what our senses manage to capture. It is an intelligence that allows you to interpret the words or gestures, or the objectives and goals of each speech. Beyond the Introversion-Extraversion continuum, interpersonal intelligence assesses the ability to empathize with other people.

It is a very valuable intelligence for people who work with large groups. its ability to detect and understand the circumstances and problems of others It is easier if you have (and develop) interpersonal intelligence. Professors, psychologists, therapists, lawyers and pedagogues are profiles that tend to score very high in this type of intelligence described in the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

More on interpersonal intelligence and how to improve it

We explain how to expand these empathy and communication skills here:

  • "Interpersonal intelligence: definition and tips to improve it"

► Naturalist intelligence

According to Gardner, naturalist intelligence It allows detecting, differentiating and categorizing aspects related to the environment, such as animal and plant species or phenomena related to climate, geography or natural phenomena.

This kind of intelligence was later added to the original study on Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, specifically in the year 1995. Gardner considered it necessary to include this category because it was one of the essential intelligences for the survival of the human being (or any other species) and that has resulted in evolution.

It should be noted that although for Gardner this type of intelligence was developed to facilitate the creative use of the resources that nature provides, currently its use is not only limited to environments where there are no human constructions, but the latter also they could be "explored" in the same way.

In detail

You can know more about the eighth type of intelligence in this post:

  • "Naturalist intelligence: what is it?"

In context

Gardner says that all people own each of the eight intelligence classes , although each one stands out more in some than in others, none of the eight being more important or valuable than the others. Generally, it is necessary to dominate a large part of them to face life, regardless of the profession that is exercised.After all, most jobs require the use of most types of intelligence.

The education that is taught in the classrooms is committed to offering content and procedures focused on evaluating the first two types of intelligence: linguistic and logical-mathematical. However, this is totally insufficient in the project to educate the students in full of their potential. The need for a change in the educational paradigm was brought to debate thanks to the Theory of Multiple Intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner.

On the other hand, Howard Gardner has pointed out that the important thing of his theory is not the 8 intelligences he proposes, but the conceptualization of human cognition as parallel and relatively independent processes from each other For this reason, he has pointed out several times that possibly multiple intelligences are not those he proposed, but others that he has not taken into account or grouped under the name of a single intelligence.

Report to Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences

If you want to delve into the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and the reasoning and evidence of its main author, Howard Gardner, we strongly recommend that you see this chapter of the neurosciences and psychology program Networks .

Bibliographic references:

  • Gardner, Howard (1998). "A Reply to Perry D. Klein's 'Multiplying the problems of intelligence by eight'". Canadian Journal of Education 23 (1): 96-102. doi: 10.2307 / 1585968. JSTOR 1585790.
  • Scarr, S. (1985). "An authors frame of mind [Review of Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences]". New Ideas in Psychology 3 (1): 95-100. doi: 10.1016 / 0732-118X (85) 90056-X.
  • Triglia, Adrián; Regader, Bertrand; and García-Allen, Jonathan (2018). "What is intelligence? From IQ to multiple intelligences". EMSE Publishing.

8 Intelligences - Theory of Multiple Intelligences Explained - Dr. Howard Gardner (February 2023).


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